Hotel Tonight – When You Need a Hotel Room Last Minute
I’m sure many of you have experienced the last-minute trip that pops up out of nowhere and you need to make travel arrangements last minute. Hotel Tonight is an app for iOS and Android that lets you make very last minute hotel reservations – sometimes at significant discounts from the published rate.
The basic functionality of the service is simple: every day they get a number of different hotels with varying price levels. For instance, yesterday in New York City there were nine different hotels ranging in price from $189 to $365. Hotel Tonight makes sure to describe the hotel and what to expect from it. Every hotel is categorized into one of a number of different types such as Luxe, Charming, Hip, Basic, Solid, etc. While it might not be the most revealing description, it certainly helps narrow the choices down if you’re just looking for a cheap place to sleep. Within each hotel page, they offer useful details such as other costs like WiFi, parking, etc. as well as hotel amenities like fitness centers. Furthermore, I think the most helpful part of the app is the “Why We Like It” section. It’s a short summary of what the hotel has going for it and why you’d want to stay there. At the Best Western Plus President hotel in New York, “Celbrity-spotting is a breeze if you walk five-blocks north to the Ed Sullivan Show Theater, where David Letterman’s show films.” They’ll also lay out whether the hotel was recently remodeled or what the rooms are like.
One aspect of the app that I really like is that you can book a hotel for longer than just one night. You may have a last minute trip that lasts a few days so being able to lock in the discount for multiple nights is really convenient so that you don’t have to keep hopping from hotel to hotel every night. Each hotel has a certain number of nights available, so if you’re going to be staying for a lengthy amount of time, make sure that the hotel can accommodate that. However, one limitation in the app bugs me a little. You can’t reserve or even look through the hotels before 12:00 PM hotel time. While I can certainly understand the need to take inventory of available rooms, if I’m taking a direct flight from coast to coast, I may not be able to reserve a room before I board, leaving me without a hotel until I land – possibly late at night. While that’s an extreme example, it’s a limitation you’ll have to account for as you look to use the service.
Overall, I think the app is a great way to get a hotel last minute. You do get a discount, but don’t expect to see 50% off rates. It’s generally in the 10-15% range with a few examples of 25-40%. If you generally have to book last minute on your own dime, it might make sense to check out the app and see if it can help you save some money!