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HotelTonight Gives Users a Heads Up on Room Rates With 'Look Ahead' Feature

April 15, 2014 at 12:05 PM | by | ()

The brilliant idea behind HotelTonight, which separates it from all other booking sites out there, is that you can book a last-minute hotel room for a steeply discounted rate, all from your phone (or tablet.) The only problem is, you have to wait until 9am the day of to see what the room rates are like.

This typically isn’t a problem when you’re unexpectedly stranded somewhere and desperately need a hotel room, or if you decided spur-of-the-moment to spend the night in the big city. But true deal hunters start looking at HotelTonight a few days before their trip to get a feel for the room rates. Why, just the other day we were on HotelTonight to see the rates in Vegas in case we felt like heading out there this week. (Confession: we've also been known to do this, just for fun, while we're sitting in a doctor's office, stuck in traffic, waiting for take-off, etc.)

But now, HotelTonight is gonna do that rate guessing work for you—with their new Look Ahead feature. Here's how it works:

Once you’re in the app, tap the Look Ahead button in the bottom right corner and a 7-day calendar will pop up. There, you will see room rates and expected discounts and even availability, and location-specific info like what's happening in town when you are arriving. You can also set a reminder to check back with HotelTonight on a specific date.

Sam Shank, CEO and co-founder of HotelTonight, said Look Ahead is the answer to one of their users' most commonly asked questions: "‘The rates look great tonight, but what will they look like tomorrow, or next week?" And while Shank said users could previously snoop on room rates in advance by browsing the multiple nights booking option, it wasn't representative of the day they actually arrive. Now, he said, there's more transparency all around.

All the info in Look Ahead has been generated by HotelTonight's Market Managers and (fancy-sounding) Data Scientists. Having pretty much pioneered this last-minute mobile booking industry, HotelTonight has a wealth of proprietary mobile booking data to draw from as well as their IRL relationships with hotel partners. So it's quite a bit more scientific than the guesstimating you've been doing on your own.

On that note, the rates on HotelTonight are always subject to change and what the app has predicted on Monday may not be the actual rate or savings you get on Friday. But Shank promises that HotelTonight will still be your best bet for a last-minute deal. Indeed, Shank said another reason for creating Look Ahead was to convince users who are hesitant about booking last-minute by showing them what HotelTonight has on offer for the week.

"They will say, "I'm just not sure I can use HotelTonight tonight because I don’t have confidence you’ll have rooms or great rates," Shank said. "The fact of the matter is that we always do. We always have rooms available and great rates."

Right now, the Look Ahead feature is available today for NYC, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Miami, Washington, DC, Chicago, San Francisco, San Diego and Dallas with other cities to follow. Look Ahead will also only be available on the iPhone but will eventually roll out to iPad and Android devices.

[Screengrabs: HotelTonight]

Archived Comments:


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