HotelTonight is an app where you can get last minute deals with the best hotels. It launched in 2010 and has been gradually growing. They just added Lisbon to the growing list of featured cities. I talked with Sam Shank, HotelTonight’s CEO & Co-Founder. See below for an offer for Portuguese new users.
In a nutshell, what is HotelTonight and what is its main goal?
HotelTonight was founded in Dec 2010 and was the first company to offer hotel bookings exclusively from your mobile device. When we were initially kicking around the idea in 2010, the driving force was a strong sense, after years in the hotel industry, that the true win/win last second booking tool for both hotels and guests was possible but had still not been invented. The advent of smart phones allowed us to interact with our customers in new ways, and we determined that by focusing exclusively on mobile devices and on the last second use case, we could build a beautiful, fun and supremely useful service for both hoteliers and guests. Our ultimate goal is to become the world’s favorite hotel booking app, and with 9 million customers globally (and counting) we are well on our way!
What kind of growth have you been seeing since launching in 2010?
Our rate of growth has been incredible from the start – we’ve just passed the 9M download mark, have expanded to over 300 destinations in 19 countries, and we will continue to grow. From 2012 to 2013 we saw a 300% revenue growth rate and 2014 is shaping up to be even more promising for us.
How hard (or how easy) was it to get funding?
Early on it was difficult to convince investors that people would book at the last minute. But we proved that we could deliver meaningful levels of bookings to our hotel partners, and once consumers find HT, they love it and are incredibly loyal. After investors saw these trends, we had the fortunate luxury of being able to choose from some of the world’s best investors.
Hotel booking is a very competitive niche. How do you make a difference?
We’re different from other hotel-booking services for many reasons, but chief among them is that we built HotelTonight from the ground-up for same-day, mobile hotel booking. We do one thing better than anyone else. Our customers and hotel partners appreciate that we’re not trying to be all things to all people, so when they have a need for a last second room, or in the case of hotels to fill a last second vacancy, they’ve come to rely on the simplicity, convenience and outstanding offers they’ll find on HotelTonight.
Every person in our company, from our technology to our hotel experts to our 24/7 support team, is laser-focused on building the best same-day hotel booking service. Being a mobile-native business allowed us to design an app that is optimized for customers in need of a hotel room right now, without getting distracted by other factors.
What’s your expectation for your recent launch in Portugal? Are there plans to expand besides Lisbon?
We are confident that Portugal is going to be very successful for HotelTonight. We are currently growing at an incredibly fast pace in Europe. In the first two months of 2014 we had as many bookings as we had in all of 2013 in several of our existing European countries, and we expect Portugal to contribute to this trend.
In terms of expansion, we are aiming to have all primary and secondary Portuguese cities covered as quickly as possible.
What’s the must have amenity you look for when choosing a hotel for yourself?
I love a rooftop hotel bar.
What other startup is currently on your radar and why?
I think Snapchat is doing something very interesting in terms of inventing a new form of human ephemeral communication and WillCall and Yplan both do a great job at helping you find last minute tickets and things to do.
Try us out! We are giving new users 40 euros for their first reservation with the promo code PORTUGAL
Learn more about HotelTonight at http://www.hoteltonight.com/