Mobile Commerce Daily is now Retail Dive: Mobile Commerce! Click here to learn more!

HotelTonight personalizes recommendations to drive bookings

Hotel booking application HotelTonight has made a series of updates, including recommendations and a new design that are aimed at a more intuitive and personalized booking experience.

Both the HotelTonight iPhone and Android have been updated. Since launching in Jan. 2011, HotelTonight claims that its iOS and Android apps have been downloaded more than three million times.

“We need to make HotelTonight the simplest and easiest to use to book a hotel,” said Jared Simon, cofounder/chief operating officer at HotelTonight, San Francisco.

“If you imagine it at its simplest, we know what you need when you need it, and that is where we are heading,” he said.

Fast-finger bookings
One of the main updates to the app is the addition of recommended hotels. The app serves up personalized search results for consumers.

Every day at noon, HotelTonight launches three time-sensitive deals at hotels in more than 50 cities in the United States, Canada and Europe.

Now in addition to the picked hotels, the app includes a section with hotels that fit a certain set of criteria. For instance, HotelTonight might recommend a hotel based on somewhere similar that a user stayed or the nearest location.

Additionally, the app might serve up a hotel that is at a different price point than the ones available for that particular day.

The updated versions of the app also include a section where consumers can see ratings from users that have already booked.

When a user is within ten miles of a hotel, the app will list the distance of the user from the hotel.

Other new features of the updated app include sleeker navigation and design. To help international consumers find what they are looking for, city lists can be organized by country.

Personalized recommendations
As more consumers become comfortable buying from their mobile devices, personalization will be the catalyst in app development for companies such as HotelTonight.

Nowadays, consumers expect for their favorite brands to aggregate content that matches their interests to tailor the buying process.

HotelTonight has been increasing its footprint recently.

Most recently, the company added ten new locations (see story).

Additionally, in July the company moved to international markets in Britain (see story).

“Now that we have a critical mass of user data, now is the time to launch the new features. These are features that are requested time and time again,” Mr. Simon said.

“The HotelTonight strategy is to make the decision as easy as possible – we know this is an impulse purchase, and we want to make it as easy as possible,” he said. “The theme of this is using the data that we have to give our users better information and make it easier for them to book.”

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