Opinions: 

Travel Tech

Hotel Tonight is a real deal breaker when it comes to mobile and is revolutionising the way in which hotel rooms are being booked. The entire mobile booking process is clearly one of the biggest growth areas for the travel industry and as more and more consumers are using their mobile devices for a range of activities, before, during and after a holiday, it is essential to see how an app such as Hotel Tonight is taking the right approach with regards to responding to consumer needs (Skift 2013).

THE APP

Hotel Tonight is a mobile travel app for mobile phones only providing consumers the opportunity to book last minute deals on hotels. When downloading the app, it knows the name of the user and also stores information on current location and nearby hotel rooms, which is most useful for a traveller already in a destination wanting to book a hotel that night. A few options are being provided by the app, for hotel rooms nearby along with some information about the hotel itself. This enables travellers to make a quick and informed decision with regards to where they can stay and what good deals are on offer to them due to their last minute decision.

WHY MOBILE ONLY?

The idea behind the app to go mobile only was made by Hotel Tonight in 2010 with smartphones appearing on the market and providing new opportunities for businesses to get in contact with travellers. With the demand for mobile apps growing, Hotel Tonight managed to bring the app to over 7 million people worldwide and is still growing at a tremendous pace. With any app, the aim is to provide a mobile solution that caters to the needs of the consumer and meets consumer expectations.

WHY IS THE APP SO SUCCESSFUL?

Hotel Tonight’s success is hugely based on the fact that the app has a laser focused approach that actually makes it very powerful due to the focused approach. Consumers using the app do so due to the fact that a last minute hotel needs to be booked. Simplistic functionalities within the app ensure that the user experience within the app exactly meets its purpose.

This very focused approach towards the app and what it ultimately delivers is certainly the key to its success. Hotel Tonight also focuses on ensuring that bookings can be done in a very quick manner in under 10 seconds that is a direct response to the need to get a hotel room as soon as possible.

Interestingly, just under half of consumers using the app are business travellers and the other half are spontaneous leisure travellers that make use of the app during last minute getaways. The offers on Hotel Tonight, are also a trigger for travellers to book a hotel room in an last minute way, as all offers are limited in a sense that only a handful great hotels are being shown as results. Although this decision to limit the offer, narrows the potential market, it is still a smart decision with regards to ensuring that the app is valuable not only to consumers but also to hotel partners on a long term basis.

RECOMMENDATIONS

There are a couple of things that should be taken into consideration when planning mobile apps. Staying focused is essential when planning a mobile app and especially with regards to questioning what the app is for as simplicity is the key for success and companies trying to do a number of things often fail.

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