Robin Wauters is the European Editor of The Next Web. He describes himself as a hopeless cyberflâneur, a lover of startups, his family a Robin Wauters is the European Editor of The Next Web. He describes himself as a hopeless cyberflâneur, a lover of startups, his family and Belgian beer. If you'd like to know more about Robin, head on over to robinwauters.com or follow him on Twitter.
HotelTonight, the startup offering travellers select same-day hotel booking deals in major cities via iOS and Android apps, is releasing completely revamped and upgraded applications for both mobile platforms today.
Dubbed version 4.0 both on Android, iPad and iPhone, the last-minute hotel booking apps now come with deeper understanding of the people using them, essentially personalizing the booking experience for them rather than offering everyone the same regional daily deals.
While HotelTonight will continue to display only a limited selection (namely: three) of vetted hotel rooms at noon each day through what it calls ‘Impulse Deals’, the new apps will also sport a section where users can find custom hotel options in a variety of categories. Hotel rooms will still be able to be booked until 2 AM.
The personalized hotel deals can be based on proximity, if they were ‘liked’ by similar HotelTonight users, previous favorable stays by the customer in question as well as a new offering called ‘bonus hotels’.
The latter category basically turns up alternate hotel choices that may better suit a customer’s specific situation or indicated preferences. Matched hotels will be displayed below the three ‘regular’ deals.
Something that won’t be changing with the relaunch of the mobile apps is HotelTonight’s desire to offer customers a super fast booking experience: the startup is adamant about keeping the hotel booking time under 10 seconds.
Version 4.0 of the Android and iOS apps will also feature hotel ratings from other users, distance indication to hotels when a user is nearby, easier booking of multi-night stays, improved navigation and a totally new UI. The Android app also comes with enhanced support for Ice Cream Sandwich and Jelly Bean devices.
You can find more screenshots below.
HotelTonight has been downloaded more than 3 million times to date and is currently available in over 50 destinations in the United States, United Kingdom and Canada. The company has raised over $35 million in funding to date from investors like Battery Ventures, Accel Partners, First Round Capital and U.S. Venture Partners.
I had a chat with HotelTonight COO Jared Simon yesterday, and he told me the startup is using its new London office to make another big push, geographically speaking, this time into a bunch of countries in mainland Europe.
Simon said he expects HotelTonight to offer deals in multiple European countries by the end of this year (probably Ireland and The Netherlands first).
Asked why the HotelTonight service was available only on smartphones and not, for example, on the Web, Simon said the company is keen on staying laser-focused on being a mobile-first service provider offering a fast and convenient way of booking hotel rooms on the same day.
That also means HotelTonight will likely remain available only on the Android and iOS platforms for the foreseeable future.
Simon wouldn’t give me exact numbers for bookings, but said the number of hotel bookings through the HotelTonight apps range in the ‘tens of thousands’ per month, and that they’re regularly running out of inventory already. As a result, HotelTonight will start dealing with more international hotel chains and groups in the future rather than maintain its focus on independent hotels.
➤ HotelTonight – iOS | Android
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