HotelTonight has built a business by enabling travelers to book last-minute accommodations, but it’s starting to look beyond just handling reservations. It has turned its attention toward improving the overall customer experience with a newly launched feature, Aces, that gives you access to a concierge right from within its mobile app.
Aces was unveiled in beta in July 2015 as an in-app chat feature that connects people with HotelTonight’s team so they can access “authentic local tips and recommendations, plus time-saving help with room and hotel requests.” Customers interact with a real-life human being, not a virtual assistant, who can offer advice on places to visit, get help finding a toothbrush, and more.
Since its beta launch, HotelTonight says “hundreds of thousands of Aces messages have been exchanged, with an average response time of 23 seconds.” Aces is now available for all English-language bookings with a cost over $200 for Solid, Hip, Luxe, Charming, and HighRoller hotels in any of 32 select cities: Arlington, Atlanta, Austin, Boston, Brooklyn, Cambridge, Charleston, Charlotte, Chicago, Denver, London, Los Angeles, Miami, New Orleans, New York City, Orlando, Palm Springs, Philadelphia, Phoenix, Portland, Raleigh, San Diego, San Francisco, San Juan, Santa Barbara, Savannah, Seattle, Scottsdale, Tampa, Tempe, Toronto, and Vancouver.
Some of the common requests made through Ace include selecting specific rooms or bed types, early check-in and late check-outs, local restaurant recommendations, and even a tiki bar with a great place to people-watch.
With the addition of a concierge service, HotelTonight can provide more personalized service to customers to make their stays more enjoyable. It’s one thing to just let someone book a room, but how do you build a customer base? By showing guests they matter. The company has been making inroads here by letting you book a two-night stay at a hotel for a discount, but a concierge service is a step beyond. HotelTonight is all about the unplanned, but while you’re being spontaneous, the company doesn’t want you to worry about things you may need or forget — this is where Aces comes in.
Sam Shank, HotelTonight’s chief executive, expressed the company’s vision this way: “We are always looking for new ways to be of more value to our customers, and given our mobile-only position, we recognized a unique opportunity here to service our top customers with a premium chat concierge that’ll improve their hotel experience.”
It seems to be working — the company has found that people who access Aces are 34 percent more likely to be a repeat customer in 90 days, as well as 47 percent more likely to use the HotelTonight app again.