That is to say, he does not want the service to be perceived as cannibalizing but as complementary to other hotel activities.
“These are people who would have stayed home or gone home,” Shank said. “They have a tool to get a great hotel at an exceptional and phenomenal last minute rate.”
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The free app, for iOS and Android devices, features hotels in 100 destinations in 12 countries across North America and Europe, according to a spokesperson for HotelTonight. Downloads of the app, launched in January 2011, tripled last year to 6 million.
The San Francisco-based company raised $35.9 million in funding with partners including US Venture Partners, Accel Partners, Battery Ventures and First Round Capital.
A search for midweek listings in New York found them ranging from $100 (down $160) for a “Basic” in Brooklyn to $645 (down $675) for a “Luxury” in the lower Manhattan. The other category tags are “Hip”, “Lovely” and “Solid”. Most rooms were between $250 and $350, though one review mentions unusually high prices due to high exposure.
HotelTonight is different from those online bookers with so-called opaque deals, Shank said. “You know the name, where it is. You know the amenities. You can see the bar. You don’t want to book an opaque hotel on a service like Priceline or [Expedia’s] Hotwire and find out it’s…much further than expected.”