HotelTonight begins international expansion starting in U.K.

Summary:HotelTonight expands across the pond as the mobile-first business model continues to gain speed in the technology sector.

Finding a hotel in London might be even easier now...if you're waiting until the last minute.

HotelTonight is expanding across the pond, starting in London as announced at LeWeb in the British capital on Wednesday.

If you're not familiar with the San Francisco-based startup, it offers a mobile app on which users can find a hotel room for the same night within select major cities.

Each day at noon local time, HotelTonight publishes three same-day hotel deals in each of its destinations, with discounts of up to 70 percent off. Deals can be booked via the app in less than 10 seconds with just three taps and a swipe to complete a booking. Rooms can be booked up until 2:00 AM local time.

So far, HotelTonight offers discounted hotel room bookings in more than a few dozen U.S. and Canadian cities from coast to coast.

The concept offers a potential win-win for both HotelTonight and their hotel partners. Hotels have another option now for unloading rooms that would probably go unfilled otherwise.

HotelTonight CEO Sam Shank explained in an interview last week that his company stands out not only because there aren't direct competitors in this particular area of the travel market, but also the startup is taking advantage of the mobile-first, on-demand services approach seen becoming more popular with smartphone and tablet users thanks to the likes of Uber and GrubHub.

"No one is doing this the way we are from the ground up for mobile," said Shank.

Customer service is also key to HotelTonight's success. Along with providing 24/7 customer service via telephone, email and live chat, Shank said that it's an "extreme rarity" that HotelTonight wouldn't have any hotel deals in a particular city on a particular day.

Of course, the deals available might not be within the average traveler's budget -- although one could argue that's what you get for waiting until the last minute. Nevertheless, all of the rooms are upscale, vetted by HotelTonight, and traditionally found in boutique hotels. Shank commented that it's sometimes better to show a room that costs $400 per night than nothing at all.

And if you're still planning to attend the Summer Olympic Games in London next month and you still haven't booked a hotel room, who knows -- this might be your only chance. London travelers can get £15 ($24) off their first booking by using the promo code UK15. Users can also invite friends to try out the app and receive another £15 when that friend makes their first booking.

The HotelTonight app is free and available for the iPhone, iPad and iPod touch, as well as Android devices.

Screenshots via HotelTonight

Related:

Topics: United Kingdom

About

Rachel King is a staff writer for CBS Interactive based in San Francisco, covering business and enterprise technology for ZDNet, CNET and SmartPlanet. She has previously worked for The Business Insider, FastCompany.com, CNN's San Francisco bureau and the U.S. Department of State. Rachel has also written for MainStreet.com, Irish Americ... Full Bio

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