Whether you’re a super procrastinator when it comes to travel planning, or a victim of a canceled flight/bus/train or an unreliable friend, last minute hotel booking apps can save you all sorts of misery, whether your version of misery is sleeping in a car, upstairs at the airport, or not at the everything (Curbed doesn’t recommend any of this). Curbed uploaded an iPhone to iTunes and downloaded twelve apps to try and book a same-day hotel reservation. The best part? Not having to talk to anyone on the phone.
Applications for use in the United States:
Methodology: To give each app a chance to find the cheapest room price, we tested seven apps on the same night to find a room at W Atlanta Midtown. Results? They all found about the same price ($230/night) Several searches first brought up the price without tax (about $199) but added it at the booking stage, so a side to side comparison coast gave no price advantage for anyone. (Again, that was all iPhone. Be sure to tell us in the comments that your Droid saved you $7).
So, even though the app you choose might not be that important, there are still reasons to download it. What’s really handy with any hotel finder app, as opposed to a hotel finder website, is using GPS to determine the distance between hotels and your current location. Although all of the apps below had some sort of mapping feature, the design and usability of each varied. Here’s a gallery of screenshots from a more than two-hour quest to find a last-minute hotel deal on a windy night in Atlanta in March. We checked Orbitz, Hipmunk, iHotel, Hotel Snapper, Tonight (via Booking.com), Hotel Tonight, and Expedia.
In conclusion, if you really need to book a room fast, don’t bother checking out more than one app. If you’re more of a hotelier, Orbitz or Expedia will work just fine for you. Choose from the other options based on how you feel about the design features.
Apps to try abroad: Some of the most promising hotel apps aren’t available in the US right now, but hopefully they’ll make it here someday. In the meantime, do you need 90% off in Prague tonight? We have you.
Just Book This app has “Last Minute Deals” for members and it’s free to join. It is available for major UK and European cities and claims to have over 100 offers.
Last Room This app promises that it will take 20 seconds to book a room and your fifth night is free. However, it is only available in Mexico from this post. After signing up, you will need to verify your email address. So if you really only have 20 seconds to book that room, you’re out of luck.
Very Last Room Are you a French or German raver looking for a disco siesta instead of a full night’s sleep? This app promises that the later you book, the cheaper the room. With over 400 locations on offer, you can expect all the fun that price reductions bring, as long as the room is booked before 2:00 a.m. If you wait until 2:01 a.m., you’re going to have to go home with someone.
Hotels Now This app covers a lot of ground. Find rooms in the UK, Switzerland, Russia, Portugal, Lithuania, Estonia and many more. The app promises up to 50% off the price of standard rooms in 40 European cities.
Blink by Groupon Groupon, the Chicago-based company that can give you 60% off an oil change, can also save you money on hotel rooms. But only in Europe for the moment. This app works like Groupons, but for hotels.
· Hospitality Week 2014 [Curbed LA]