We go hands on with hotel booking app HotelTonight, now in Australia

Increasingly popular hotel booking app HotelTonight has recently launched in Australia following high demand, and it’s opened up some pretty big possibilities where last minute bookings, staycations, and travel is concerned. Now, Australians have access to a directory of last-minute deals from some of the country’s most well-known and regarded hotels, and the price cuts are pretty substantial, making it all the more tempting to play it by ear and book last minute.

Traditionally, planning has been seen to be of the utmost importance when travelling, but more recently there has been a trend – especially with younger people – to lean towards the spontaneous and gradually build trips as they go along. The two paths make for significantly different experiences, and the latter path is what HotelTonight are tapping into, and, by all accounts, nailing.

The process is fairly simple for all location-based apps nowadays; HotelTonight tracks where you are and brings up a range of hotels around you, classifying them as either ‘high roller’, ‘luxe’, ‘hip’, ‘standard’ or ‘basic’. The list is kept limited to speak to the team’s curatorial approach, offering you a nice variety with really accessible prices for a stay either that night or following nights (up to 7 days out). Of course, the more last-minute your booking, the cheaper it is. Savings can often be up to 50% and gives the user the opportunity to stay in a hotel that is a cut above the standard to what they probably had in mind before logging on.

This opens up a number of opportunities, particular for those who like to vacation in their own city. There’s something about the freedom that comes with the psychology of staying in a hotel, even if you aren’t exactly ‘away’ from all your commitments, which is why these type of ‘nearcations’ are becoming so popular with this generation. For one, you could ‘hotel hop’ for a week, or even just treat yourself if you feel it’s going to be a long day. I know I could see myself logging on at around 2pm on a Wednesday, catching a cheap ‘hip’ hotel room and checking in after work for a home-away-from-home type experience.

1888 Hotel, a constant listing on HotelTonight in Sydney

Hotels are often trying to fill last minute rooms, so you’ll find plenty of great properties are more than willing to offer up their vacancies on HotelTonight. Some hotels are even frequently listed; for example, in Sydney you’d find thatEstablishment, 57 Hotel and 1888 Hotel are easily accessible, and rooms there can be booked in less than 10 seconds (3 taps and a swipe, assuming you already have your account details logged).

The design is clean and looks gorgeous on a mobile, with numerous photos of each hotel, optimised for the platform. The app is incredibly user friendly and simple to use – even fun for the first few times. At the time of publish, there are 15 hotels available tonight in Sydney, and info for each options includes category (the aforementioned ‘hip’, ‘luxe’ etc), average customer rating (as a percentage), HotelTonight price versus original price, and how many rooms are available at that HotelTonight price.

Clicking on a hotel instantly brings up bigger, brighter pictures of the lobby, room, and surrounds, as well as what night the stay is for, how many ratings were used to calculate the average, short notes, reviews, features, food and drink options, and even the weather forecast in the area. Beneath it all is a horizontal purple button titled ‘book now’ which takes you straight to the confirmation page with all your details (assuming you have already registered them). From there you simply click and they send you your check-in details.

There’s also a ‘rate tracking’ feature which allows you to receive notifications whenever a certain hotel’s rate drops; a feature which shows you the ‘most booked’ hotels in each city; and a section dedicated to travel inspiration.

The app is in thousands of destinations around the world now, with 15,000 hotels listed, so the possibilities for travelers are wide and potentially the difference between a good holiday and a not-so-good one (staying at a lush hotel for little more than a hostel rate = priceless).

It’s like Uber for hotels and it’s a necessary app for the modern day smartphone.

More info on HotelTonight can be found at www.hoteltonight.com. The app is free to download.


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Chris Singh

Chris Singh is an Editor-At-Large at the AU review, loves writing about travel and hospitality, and is partial to a perfectly textured octopus. You can reach him on Instagram: @chrisdsingh.