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HotelTonight expands mobile footprint

HotelTonight has added ten new locations to its applications after seeing a shift in the way that users consume content from only booking a room to more browsing and research.

In addition to the new cities, HotelTonight also claims that its apps have been downloaded three million times. HotelTonight is available on iPad, iPhone and Android devices.

“First, we are finding that users have begun to use HotelTonight not just as a booking app, but also as a sort of mobile travel magazine. Users tend to fire up the app whenever they need to kill time, just to see the latest cool hotels around the world,” said Jared Simon, cofounder/chief operating officer at HotelTonight, San Francisco.

“Second, we’re noticing a very nice improvement in the comfort level of our users in being spontaneous. Our original goal was to make the world a more spontaneous place, and we’ve been happy to see users come back and book again and again, many times in situations where they wouldn’t have previously considered splurging to stay in a hotel,” he said.

Mobile-only bookings
Ten new cities in both the United States and Britain have been added to the HotelTonight app.

In the U.S., consumers in Charlotte, St. Louis, Nashville and Pittsburgh can now book same-day hotels via the company’s app. Salt Lake City will also be added to the app in the coming weeks.

In June, HotelTonight expanded internationally to London and is now adding five more cities in Britain to follow (see story).

Birmingham, Glasgow, Liverpool and Edinburgh have been added in Britain. Manchester is slated to be available in September.

In total, HotelTonight offers same-day bookings in 50 different cities.

Additionally, HotelTonight has broken out its London bookings into neighborhoods to speed up the searching process.

Recent hotel brand additions to HotelTonight include The Hoxton in London, The Driskill Hotel in Austin and Ace Hotel & Swim Club in Palm Springs.

Flash sales
Every day HotelTonight unlocks three different same-day deals for hotels in each city at noon. This flash sale business model is especially prominent on mobile with consumers attached to their smartphones and tablets throughout the day.

Consumers are also increasingly relying on mobile to make last-minute reservations – often times when they are already in the city that they are traveling to.

With an app, HotelTonight can cultivate loyalty by taking advantage of features such as push notifications that trigger consumers to buy on the spot.

HotelTonight also recently conducted a survey that split up its users by operating system to look at spending habits.

Although iOS users spend 15 percent more, Android devices tend to book more spontaneously. Additionally, iOS users are 33 percent faster at making a booking (see story).

“We expect that sometime over the next few years, more travel will be booked via mobile devices than on the traditional PC,” Mr. Simon said.

“2012 and 2013 will see us steadily progressing toward that point, and all indications are that this transition will happen quickly,” he said. “We’re proud to be the first mobile-only travel booking app, but we don’t expect to be alone for long.”

Final Take
Lauren Johnson is associate reporter on Mobile Commerce Daily, New York