Mobile

HotelTonight ‘reinvents hotel reviews’ with new photo-sharing feature

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When you find yourself without a place to stay, HotelTonight helps you find one. Today, the last-minute hotel booking app released an update that seeks to give customers added confidence in their booking, as well as convenience.

‘Snap Your Stay’ is a new review feature where customers can post personal photographs from their stay. Once at the hotel, visitors open the app and are prompted to take a series of photos of the bed, bathroom, view, lobby etc… Once completed, the photos can be edited within the app itself, which even contains light filters (so you won’t need to open Instagram). The images are shareable on social media and will be available as part of the hotel’s profile in the app.

Popular travel sites like Yelp and TripAdvisor are based on user-generated reviews that are [in theory] less biased than branded content. All the hotels on HotelTonight are currently profiled with custom photography. Snap Your Stay will add a layer of accountability and engagement by allowing customers to share what the experience was really like.

“It’s clear that people are excited about sharing information to help other travelers make informed decisions about where to stay,” said founder and CEO Sam Shank to VentureBeat. “With this new release, HotelTonight has reinvented the hotel review for the mobile age. We’ve taken something that is typically very time-intensive and done after your trip concludes, and made it fun, visual, mobile-friendly and something you do during your trip.”

snap your stayShank used to work for a travel review site called TravelPost and said he wanted to incorporate hotels reviews into HotelTonight in a way that made sense for the last-minute, mobile user. Combined with the new Price Guarantee feature, he said travelers will have more information and peace of mind when booking rooms at the last minute. The Price Guarantee feature means that HotelTonight will guarantee its rates against competitors offerings, so people don’t need to worry about missing the best deal.

HotelTonight launched in 2011 and is now available in 12 countries and over 100 destinations around the world with more than 2500 hotel partners. Each day at noon local time, HotelTonight offers a new curated set of hotel deals. If you need a hotel room on-the-fly, you open the app, enter your destination, and it will present you with unsold rooms at steep discounts that can be booked on your smartphone.

The company released version 4.0 in September 2012 with more personalized recommendations based on their exact location, booking history, and feedback. Since raising $23 million in June 2012, HotelTonight accelerated global expansion and added German and Swiss destinations. Shanks said this is evidence of HotelTonight’s role as a “mobile commerce trail blazer.”

“We’re innovators in the space,” Shank said. “In fact, we invented the category of last minute hotel booking apps. We’re hyper-focused on mobile travel, and today’s news speaks to our commitment to innovate and continuing pushing the boundaries.

HotelTonight is based in San Francisco, California with a recently opened European headquarters. The company has raised over $35 million to date and is available on iOS or Android for free in English, Spanish, German, Italian, and French.

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