Available on: iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch and Android Devices
What is it:
HotelTonight is a same-day hotel booking app that gives you huge discounted room rates at a selection of the best cool, luxury and quirky hotels. If you’re in the U.S, Canada or UK, this app can work wonders for last-minute travellers, giving up to 70% price reductions on top-rated hotels in most major cities such as New York, Los Angeles, Toronto, Vancouver, London and Liverpool, to name but a few.
I was gifted $200 in credits to try the app out for myself and, after enjoying a night in a trendy London hotel, I wish I’d discovered HotelTonight sooner.
The way the app works is very simple; every day at noon it lists hotel options in your chosen city each offering great budget-rates available to book until the offer ends at 2am that same night. I selected London and eagerly awaited as the clock struck 12pm, then instantly the app interface was filled with a number of properties.
I was given a choice of three hotels as ‘impulse deals’ categorised under localities – there were three in Central/East London and three in West London. The hotels are further classified as ‘Basic’, ‘Hip’, ‘Solid’ or ‘Luxe’. On that Saturday, for example, the app was offering the luxury (luxe) Chancery Court Hotel for $232 (£143) for the night, while on the hotel’s own website, the cheapest guaranteed available room was priced at £396. This was a saving of 64% - wow!
You can click through to any available hotel and the app will take you through to a page which includes important information about the hotel, such as check-in/check-out times, parking facilities, food and drink, room service and rolling images as well as an interactive map pinpointing the hotel’s location.
I opted for an ‘impulse deal’ - the ‘solid’ boutique Park International hotel - where the app listed there to be only one room left. It was for $211 (£130) including taxes and its location was better-suited to my activities that day. Again, on the hotel’s own website the cheapest guaranteed available room was the Heritage Junior Suite at £291. HotelTonight’s offer was priced with a 55% saving compared to that of the hotel.
Booking a room couldn’t have been easier, it takes literally just seconds. Once you’ve decided on a hotel just click on the ‘Book A Room’ tab and follow the instructions on-screen. You’ll be asked to put in your card details if it’s your first time booking, if you’re a regular user and have built up free credits, HotelTonight will take these into account when you’re making the booking. For example, I only had to pay the extra $11 by card as HotelTonight had kindly put $200 credit into my account. Furthermore, the app gives you $10 just for signing up and becoming a member, it offers $25 in credit for referring a friend when they make their first booking and $10 for a quick two-minute survey-type review after your stay.
The apps funky feature which requires the user to swipe the outline of the HotelTonight bed icon, confirms your booking. I received a confirmation of the booking via email and, conveniently, the app stored my hotel reservation details in the ‘Bookings’ tab in my account – this was the confirmation I showed at the Park International check-in desk.
Travel Countdown and Booking Benefits:
The most exciting thing about HotelTonight, for me, was the countdown to noon, knowing that there were going to be fantastic deals for me to choose from. The site promises exclusive, members-only rates and, with the $10 credit gift just for signing up, it’s well worth taking the time to download HotelTonight and join the money-saving travel community.
I checked into the Park International at 4.30pm. The check-in process was a breeze – the hotel reception already had my booking details and knew that the room had been paid for in full. I was asked to present a card for incidentals, which is completely normal, and I was pleasantly surprised that the hotel had upgraded my room from a standard double to an executive double for the night’s stay (this included breakfast too). For people who love to party and need a last-minute room, or if you find yourself stuck in the city, HotelTonight is the answer as the app allows you to book and check-in at any time up until 2am.
There are so many booking benefits with HotelTonight. I found that all the hotels offered were of a high standard and had good ratings and reviews (you can rate/review your chosen hotel and the app as well, after your stay). The app will store your card details so you don’t have to repeatedly type that information in for every booking you make. HotelTonight customer service is on hand 24/7 just in case there is a problem you need resolving and, most importantly, you'll save time and money by avoiding spending hours online or calling multiple hotels to find the best prices.
More recently, HotelTonight has added further personalised features for its three million users. Once you become a regular user of the app, depending on your booking habits and the types of hotels you opt for, it will provide you with a list of up to three personalised offers identified by short descriptors explaining why they were recommended to you; “liked by similar HT bookers,” “you stayed here and liked it,” and “a hotel closer to you.” For frequent travellers this is a personal touch that could help you choose the perfect hotel for the night.
Furthermore, now, on some of the deals, you have the option to book more than one night at your chosen hotel for the discounted rate!
Who doesn’t love getting a great deal on hotels that are normally outside your budget? This is the simple draw towards HotelTonight for me. Unlike its big-name online hotel booking competitors, such as, Expedia, Priceline and Orbitz, this app genuinely shops around for the best money-saving rates at top hotels. Just compare the prices on the day of booking as I did to see just how much you’re saving, you’ll be pleased to see that there is usually a substantial difference.
In terms of interface, the app has a clean and attractive design and I found that being able to view all the hotels on a map before booking was great, especially if you want to stay close to a specific landmark or if you’re visiting friends and need to be in a particular area of the city. There is also an option to change currency, which I only came across under the ‘options’ tab after my booking was confirmed. The lesson here is to play around on the app, get used to its features and see what all the tabs do, this way you will get more out of the user-experience.
Though HotelTonight is rapidly growing and covers 50 destinations, the majority of these are in the US. The UK has only six featured cities; London, Liverpool, Birmingham, Manchester, Edinburgh and Glasgow. Though these are some of the major cities in the country, it would be great to see other popular places such as Leeds, Newcastle, Bath, Oxford and others added to the list.
The app has also hit a major milestone as it has been downloaded three million times. Though this proves its popularity and success it also makes securing a hotel deal much more competitive which means that rooms sell out quickly. My first attempt to book the Park International failed as the room must have been snapped up by another user. Luckily, one more became available a few minutes later, which is, I assume, the result of the hotel not being able to fill up all its rooms for that night. If the app could offer more number of rooms at hotels then users would have a better chance of securing a good deal on the day.
The one important factor which could cause users to hesitate when booking is the lack of information available about the room type that you’re booking. You only find out about your room type at check-in and since you can’t request a specific bed type, the app lends itself more towards single travellers or couples as most allocated rooms will sleep just one or two people. For future development, the app makers should consider adding this information prior to booking so that users have more choice as well as peace of mind about what type of room they have booked.
My time using HotelTonight was really great and overall a positive experience. Not only is the app useful for city dwellers in tricky situations, such as missing the last train home or having unexpected guests turn up at your door, but it’s the perfect way for you to take advantage and book a staycation if you’re wanting to escape your busy city life and spend a night at a fancy, fashionable and budget-friendly hotel.
HotelTonight is much more efficient and current in what it offers and its easy-to-use as well, which means that the app can be appreciated by young nomads as well as seasoned travellers. Having the option to book heavily discounted hotel rooms throughout the day is a luxury for any traveller. I booked my hotel at 12.30pm and checked the app a few hours later to find that further deals on fabulous hotels had been added, some with lower price tags and in widespread areas of London.
If you fancy yourself as bit of a risk-taker then I would recommend you wait into the afternoon to bag a real bargain at one of HotelTonight’s top-rated properties. However, if like me you want to get a room booked as soon as possible the ‘impulse deals’ are your best bet and will definitely not disappoint.
For its commitment to offering seriously good rates, at some of the best city hotels, and its friendly, trendy and exclusive nature, HotelTonight gets a travel-tastic 4/5.
Have you tried HotelTonight? Tell us what you think of the app in the comments below or tweet us @FemaleFirst_UK
Shabana Adam @Shabana_FAM