Travel startup Hipmunk has launched a new last-minute hotel deal service it calls Tonight Only, which promises to offer customers discounts from standard room rates of up to 60 percent. Available through the company’s iOS and Android mobile apps, this service aims to compete against the likes of HotelTonight — specifically attracting those travelers who need to book accommodations at the last minute.
Tonight Only is another add-on service that Hipmunk hopes will help it compete against the likes of Kayak. In 2012, the company pushed out a new app to let customers track the most popular hotels through heatmap technology. Hipmunk followed it up by adding neighborhood guides (a la Airbnb) in November. And somewhat recently, it integrated with Expedia to offer direct hotel bookings from its Web and mobile apps.
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Hipmunk says that its hotel business is doing well — it tells us that its monthly bookings have tripled in the past six months, although no detailed figures were provided so that statistic could mean anything. But apparently bolstered by this figure and the fact that more than 50 percent of searches on its mobile apps are by travelers who need last-minute accommodations, the company decided to launch Tonight Only.
Here’s how it works: for those travelers who need a place to stay the night, Hipmunk’s mobile apps will display those places with availabilities. Each search is sorted based on “ecstasy” (a combination of price, reviews, and amenities). The app looks at your current location and provides you with hotels nearby with deals — it doesn’t matter if you’re in the US or international as Tonight Only will work worldwide.
Along with this app update, Hipmunk is also offering Fare Alerts to give travelers updated airfare notifications to find out when the best airfare becomes available, in line with what Kayak currently has available, along with many other travel booking services. Even though it’s not incredibly spectacular, those that use it will receive push notifications or emails letting them know when’s the best time to book.
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