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HotelTonight / Hotel News / Mobile Check-Ins / Mobile Booking Apps / Keyless Entry / Keyless Hotel Rooms / Smartphone Check-In / → All Tags
HotelTonight, the mobile booking app last-minute travelers can't live without, announced some major news yesterday at Google's I/O conference. Like, major.
HotelTonight will soon let you check-in to your room from within the HotelTonight app as well as open your room door. Wow. Earlier this year, when we mentioned bonus points for hotels who adopted keyless entries, we had no idea it would come from a booking app like HotelTonight.
The two new features are simply called, "Express Check-In" and "Keyless Entry." They were demonstrated yesterday at the conference on an Android phone but the Express Check-In is being piloted on the iPhone app while Keyless Entry is working off Android.
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:
Art Basel Hotels / Last-Minute Hotel Rooms / Miami Hotel Mambo / HotelTonight / Expedia / Miami Hotels / → All Tags
The good news about Art Basel is that there are still hotel rooms available. The bad news is they cost more than some pieces of art that's on sale at the massive art fair.
Here's a quick run-down from Expedia for hotel rooms from tomorrow, December 4th, checking out December 6th
· LOEWS MIAMI BEACH: $559
· EDEN ROC MIAMI BEACH: $729
·Something called THE GRAND BEACH HOTEL: $859 (ironically, the hotel's website claims "affordable luxury")
·RITZ-CARLTON SOUTH BEACH: $799
·THE ANGLER'S: $909
Meanwhile, looking on the app HotelTonight for rooms for, duh, tonight is a little better. We found the Catalina (across from the SLS, Delano and Sagamore) to be just $232 while the Dream South Beach is just $239. Even the Standard Miami Beach is not too grossly priced at $499 a night.
And to be fair, there are several smaller hotels with decent locations in Miami Beach that can still be had under $300, but they won't be very plush. Still, it's a place to rest your heady after a long, party-filled day. Just remember, Miami Beach is a bit of a construction zone so be sure to plan accordingly as you party hop.
This news from mobile-booking app, HotelTonight, couldn't have come at a better time. We're on the hunt for a hotel room in Miami after our meet-up tonight and we were kind of annoyed that we have to wait until noon today to book a room through HotelTonight. But lucky for us, HotelTonight is now letting folks book rooms starting at 9am instead of noon. Wahoo!
Everything else with the app is the same as usual, except you can get a heard start on the rest of your day without stopping whatever you're doing at noon to book a hotel room. (Also, the app's countdown clock is right but they still need to change the copy. It's still saying deals go live at noon local time.)
Of course, this doesn't change a hotel's check-in time which is usually around 3pm, but having a reservation and a room that's already paid for does help if you're trying to get in a little earlier than that. Worst case, you're at least entitled to leave your bags with the bell desk.
World Series Hotels / St Louis Hotels / Expedia / HotelTonight / NFL Hotels / Jock Jam Hotels / → All Tags
St. Louis' hotel scene is heating up tonight! Not only is the 5th game of the World Series with the Cardinals versus the Boston Red Sox happening but the city is also hosting Monday Night Football with the Rams playing the Seattle Seahawks. However, there are still plenty of hotel rooms to be had. Allow us to break it down.
On Expedia, The Hyatt Regency St. Louis at the Arch (near the ballpark) still has rooms open, although they cost a pretty penny at $475 tonight. The Renaissance St. Louis Grand is going for $399, The Embassy Suites is $359 while the Crowne Plaza Riverfront at the Arch hikes the rate back up to $475. There are still a ton of hotels open near the airport, about 20 minutes away from the ballpark, and most of them are below $150 a night.
On HotelTonight, the last-minute hotel booking app, there are way better deals, under $100 for tonight, but you will probably need a rental car. The Best Western Plus Saint Charles is about 25 minutes by highway to the ballpark but only costs $75. There's also the La Quinta Inn by the airport for $89 and the Comfort Inn Westport for $74 which is also about 25 minutes away. But hey, these are all under $100.
Just beware, if you are a Red Sox fan, this little "note" could greet you in your hotel room:
Mobile Booking Apps / Hotel Booking Sites / HotelQuickly / HotelTonight / CheckInTonight / → All Tags
Launched in March, the smartphone app works very much like HotelTonight--guests can book seriously last-minute rooms up until 4am for that same night. And like HotelTonight the app only lets you access hotel room rates for that day, starting at noon--you can't book a room the day before or the week before. It's also only available through a smartphone app store--either iTunes, Google Play or Blackberry App World.
We checked today for the options in Siem Reap and two hotels pulled up--one for $100 USD and another for just $30. (Some cities also have just one hotel listed.) If you can't decide between the options, HotelQuickly tells you to shake your phone which will then make your selection automatically. You can also earn credits for recommending friends to HotelQuickly, which is something that HotelTonight has done from the beginning.
Right now, HotelQuickly is operating in Australia's big cities (Sydney, Brisbane and Melbourne) along with Hong Kong, Macau, Singapore, Siem Reap and cities in New Zealand, Indonesia, Malaysia, Taiwan, Thailand and Vietnam. You can read through their FAQs if you still need a little help understanding how the app works. We also just discovered another app that's doing the same thing for Asia called, CheckInTonight, which does most of the same cities at HotelQuickly, with the exception of Australia and New Zealand.
A recent survey by Scandic Hotels shed some light on the booking habits of Swedish travelers who frequent their properties, and as it turns out, they're not very proactive in their planning. The results revealed that 60 percent of the hotel chain's guests book their hotel within one week of their stay, and that 21 percent of guests book on the day of their arrival.
While we think the latter number is pretty stunning, what's more surprising is that the survey found that 24% of families book on the day of arrival. Going to the mall at the last minute with small children is stressful enough, let alone packing bags the night before a trip without a reservation.
While the habits of the Swedish population as surveyed by a single hotel chain might not be applicable for universal assumptions, it sure did get us thinking. Is this type of last-minute decision making happening everywhere? We sure as hell put a little more than a day’s thought into where we're going to stay, and perhaps we just assumed that most would do the same (backpacking trips and the like excluded, of course). That said, it is possible that people are thinking in advance, but simply waiting until the final day to book. Why? Perhaps because of new apps, such as HotelTonight, that give last-minute deals on room rates.
Hotel Booking Sites / Hotel Booking Tips / Quikbook / HotelTonight / Tingo / PointsHound / RoomKey / Hotel News / → All Tags
One of the questions we get asked the most (after "Can you get me a free hotel room?") is, "What hotel booking site do you use?" Our answer often varies depending on the city, the time of year and whether the trip is business or pleasure, but we've definitely got a few sites that we trust more than others.* So allow us to round them up for you here:
5 Hotel Booking Sites You Should Know About and Use
*Sorry, these won't help lower the rates for NYC in mid-June but at least you'll be getting the best rate you can.
Hotel Booking Apps / HotelTonight / HotelChatter Interviews / Europe Hotels / Budget Hotels / Hotel Deals / Hotel News / Sam Shank / → All Tags
We mean "tomorrow" as in the future.
"Back where it all began." HotelTonight founder and CEO Sam Shank reflects for a moment, and takes a bite of a kettle-cooked potato chip.
We're chilling at the bar in the far back of the bustling lobby of The Ace, where, in late 2010, Shank launched HotelTonight and which now inspires the interior design of the HT headquarters on the other side of the country.
Has it already been more than two years?! HT still seems like the hot new thing, though they've grown to a staff of over 80 and now support 5 languages and 6 currencies for properties on sale in 12 countries. Their most recent "big news" came only last week, as they welcomed hotels in Rome, Florence, Madrid and Barcelona to the app and showed off their snazzy SF digs in a episode of TechCrunch's TC Cribs. Heck, you know we're already fans; last week we booked three nights in two countries using HotelTonight.
How many NYC hotels welcome you like this?
We’re always asked where to stay in New York City and now, more than ever, the choices are plentiful. Everyone is hyper-focused on the new builds coming to town, but there are also some that don’t get the love and attention they should. We’ve got four that fall in both these categories—new jacks and under-the-radar specialsomethins.
This new sister hotel to the St. Giles Court threw open its doors in January. Appealing to guests digging its midtown location (the Chrysler and Empire State buildings are blocks away), the 123-room 1920s landmark building was once a Doral and then a W Hotel. But they’ve dialed the clock back and discovered treasures including original raised ceilings and fireplaces. The lobby restaurant is called Audrey in homage to Ms. Hepburn who once sipped coffee there back in the day.
The hotel’s infamous “Cherry Room”, scene of boisterous soirees, will transform into a sophisticated restaurant when the right celeb chef is selected. Also high-end are spacious rooms (starting at 375 square-feet), keeping the building’s NYC resident beginnings. Red velvet chaise lounges, leather headboards, original hardwood flooring, and Molton Brown amenities help maintain a classy atmosphere.
Rates begin at $269 per night, though we've seen specials on HotelTonight as the property is in still working out kinks.
Last week, we headed out to Las Vegas for an impromptu trip to catch Boyz II Men at The Mirage. Since we were only in town for one night and had about $100 in credits to burn on HotelTonight* we decided to use the last-minute mobile booking app to book our room.
So just as we were nearing Barstow on our road trip to Vegas from Los Angeles, we looked at HT and saw Caesars Palace open for only $91. We booked immediately and continued the rest of our road trip in rather high spirits. (It may have been because we were playing our fave early 90s hits the whole way there but never mind that.)
Yet when checked in at Caesars, they informed us that our room would be in the hotel's older Roman Tower. Thanks to VegasChatter, we know it's not in great shape. So we asked about upgrades. Turns out we could have the brand-new Octavius Tower for an extra $60 a night. We looked at our friend and said, Why not? That's just an extra $30 a night for each of us. Remember, we didn't have to pay for the room since our credits covered that.
We also inquired about possibly upgrading to the Nobu Hotel but even though rooms were going for a skint $189 a night, we would have had to cancel our HT booking, losing all our credits and then re-book.
So with our upgrade to the Octavius tower completed, we were given our keys to a room on the 64th floor with a pretty decent view out the side of the Bellagio fountains. Happiness! Except...
Art Basel Hotels / Miami Hotels / South Beach Hotels / HotelTonight / Hotel Deals / Jetsetter / Jetsetter Now / → All Tags
Our room at The Betsy
If you want to talk about high hotel rates, let's talk Art Basel Miami Beach. The annual contemporary art eventwhich encompasses several art fairs, art installations around the city, and a gajillion partiesbrings in the big spenders and the struggling creatives alike for four days of fun in the sun.
The official days are Thursday-Sunday, December 6-9, but we've been in Miami all week hotel hopping, so we decided to throw caution to the wind for a little experiment: last-minute, day-of hotel reservations for what are the highest peak days in Miami's calendar. We're calling it "Operation Last Resort."
This is our final night of Operation Last Resort, after last-minute stays of the good (at The Dream) and the bad (at The Shelborne). The roller coaster only intensifies with some serious drama that all started with our decision to try another last-minute booking app: Jetsetter Now.