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News & Press: Industry News

Hotel Trends: Last-Minute Booking Apps

Monday, September 28, 2015  
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Indiana hotels will be looking to benefit from a national surge in spur-of-the-moment hospitality — a growing national trend. And competition is keen among at least three software applications for mobile devices that emphasize speed in booking and hooking up prospective guests to the nearest hotel properties.

The app “Booking Now,” which debuted in January, “pairs a user’s GPS location with nearby hotels offering last-minute deals,” according to Quartz.com.

"It allows room bookings up to 48 hours in advance, filtering options based on users’ selected preferences — for instance, access to breakfast, parking, free Wi-Fi, on-site restaurants and price range,” Quartz explains.

Last-minute booking is becoming a booming business.

As Quartz explained:  “A report from Phocuswright.com, a global travel market research company, found that roughly one in four searches on hotels’ mobile sites are for same-day or next-day check-in. Another report by travel booking site Expedia found that 92 percent of travelers consider themselves at least a little spontaneous.”

Booking Now will offer the same last-minute rates available on many hotel chains’ websites, but its lure is speed and ease of use for harried travelers who can book in just two taps of a phone. 

“This app is just great, it makes you find and book a hotel in two taps, plus you can see them on the map and compare what is the most convenient for you, especially when you are on the go! Love it!” one consumer wrote. 

New competitors include Priceline’s Tonight-Only Deals, Expedia Tonight Only, Jetsetter Now and lastminute.com Hotels. 

“So far, none of those copycats have been able to compete with Hotel Tonight’s significant head start,” Skift reports.

However, they’re working aggressively to gain market share. For example, Expedia is wooing hotels to its network by agreeing to post same-day room rates through its “Sell Tonight” concept.

The battle over last-minute booking comes as some major hotel chains are tightening their last-minute cancellation polices.

Tired of consumers canceling at the last minute and rebooking via a last-minute website, the Hilton and Marriot chains on Jan. 1 began charging a cancellation fee of a one night's stay to those who fail to cancel by 11:59 p.m. the day before scheduled check-in.

The two hotels' decision was first reported by the New York Times in November. The news was met by a negative reaction from some consumers, while others were unfazed.


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