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Get Super-Cheap Hotel Stays with This Updated App

SmarterTravel

HotelTonight, one of my favorite hotel-booking apps, has announced two new features to help guests save even more money on hotel stays.

Beginning today, the app offers Rate Drop, an exclusive same-day hotel price that appears in the app starting at 3 p.m. (Essentially, Rate Drop offers guests an even lower rate for waiting even later.) Using geolocation services to detect the user’s city, HotelTonight will find ultra-low rates available for booking that evening, available until 2 a.m. This last-minute booking is a win-win for hoteliers and consumers. Hoteliers can sell off last-minute openings, and travelers can get deep discounts on a wide range of properties, from basic to luxe (high-end hotels that normally cost hundreds per night). The only catch? You’ve got to wing it.

HotelTonight has always been a great option for on-the-fly travelers, but it hasn’t always been ideal for advance planners. The other booking option that HotelTonight debuted today, Bonus Rate, may address that: Users can now book up to seven days in advance in specific locations. HotelTonight will surface certain hotels at similarly deep discounts, targeting locations that the user may be interested in based on their current location. (It’s not entirely clear which cities will be targeted for which users, but we imagine that New York City users may get Bonus Rates for the Hamptons, San Francisco users for Los Angeles, and so on … cities near enough for a quick weekend break, road trip, or business travelers.)

Both rate options offer up to an additional 40 percent off hotel stays, if not more—hoteliers can drop or adjust displayed prices based on inventory, so prices could be significantly lower than what you’d find on the various online travel agencies (OTAs).

Our thoughts: We like it. The more disruptive mobile apps and OTAs can be when it comes to pricing, the better it is for travelers. As mobile booking increases, and as travelers continually seek good deals, we imagine that these nimble apps will only get more popular.

(Screenshots of both Rate Drop, left, and Bonus Rate, right, via HotelTonight)

What do you think, readers? Do you use last-minute booking apps like HotelTonight?

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