HotellTonight wants you to be more spontaneous and indulge this spontaneity by booking a last-minute hotel through its app.
The company has raised $45 million to fuel international growth of its same-day hotel booking app.
“We are giving people what they want when they want it,” said COO Jared Simon in an interview with VentureBeat. “We want to build the next iconic brand in travel, a brand that outlives us. Whatever we have to do to realize that vision is whatever we will do.”
HotelTonight connects travelers with last-minute deals on hotel rooms. Every day at noon local time, the app presents a selection of unsold rooms at steep discounts that travelers book through their smartphones.
This approach is useful for travelers who need a place to stay, but also for hotels who have the opportunity to fill up their empty inventory and reach an audience of travel-savvy consumers.
HotelTonight launched in 2011 and is now active in 120 destinations and in 12 countries around North America and Europe. It works with 3,000 hotels and has 6 million users. Simon said growth is strong and this financing will support HotelTonight’s continued expansion.
“We don’t need the money,” he said. “The reality is we spent a lot of time over the past couple years building the best product for our consumers and for our hotels and honing our model. We have gotten it down to a science. We can open new markets and be confident each time of the results. The funding will turbocharge that effort, Our intention is to be ubiquitous.”
HotelTonight is often held up as an example of a company that provides a strong mobile experience. The app makes it easy to find and book hotel deals and Simon said this is largely why HotelTonight has remained competitive.
The company’s popularity set off a wave of comparable products. Large online travel agents like Priceline and Expedia now offer last-minute hotel booking as well as smaller companies like Hipmunk, clones like Hotels Now, and HotelQuickly.
“What incumbent players and clones don’t realize is that 90 percent of the code and effort is behind-the-scenes,” Simon said. “It takes a lot of work to build relationships with thousands of hotels, and we take great pride in creating great content around our hotels and providing a clean user experience. This is what differentiates us.”
HotelTonight curates its hotel listings and offers a small selection of high-quality deals a day. Listings include photography and well-written copy produced by teams of professional writers. Simon said that the company hires a team of professional writers in every language to rewrite the app from scratch so it has local flavor.
With this fourth round of financing, HotelTonight has eyes on Eastern and Northern Europe, Asia, and Latin America as well as plans to deepen its footprint in existing markets. The company will also add continue to develop and personalize the product with features like the “Snap your Stay” reviews it released in May.
Technology hedge fund Coatue Management led this round, which Simon said has experience with public technology companies and public offerings. He said an IPO isn’t in the immediate future, but it certainly something they company is considering. GGV Capital, a firm that focuses on the U.S. and China, also participated and will support HotelTonight’s entrance into Asia. Existing investors Battery Ventures, Accel Partners, U.S. Venture Partners, and First Round Capital also re-upped.
This brings the total capital raised to $80.85 million.
VB's research team is studying web-personalization... Chime in here, and we’ll share the results.