Around a year ago I heard about a new smartphone app for booking last minute hotels. The app was called HotelTonight and the concept was simple: find you a hotel, tonight. Since the launch, rival HotelQuickly has also emerged, targeting Asia-Pacific regions. Here’s the full story.
Introducing last minute hotel apps: HotelTonight and HotelQuickly
Last minute hotel services are big business (we’ve all heard of lastminute.com, after all), but these apps are different. HotelTonight has received widespread praise for its elegant design, and I have been raving about HotelQuickly for months thanks to its simple booking process and great prices!
Both HotelTonight and HotelQuickly present a curated list of hotel deals specifically for that evening, often with special bonuses or freebies for buying through their service (as I will explain later). So what can you expect from this exciting new category of booking service and are they worth using next time you’re stuck for somewhere to stay?
My experience with HotelTonight
After downloading the app (search for it in your app store) I fired it up one morning on my way to London, keen to see what offers they had available.
As someone who usually loves to plan their travels, jumping on a train to London without any idea about where I’d be sleeping that night was a pretty scary feeling. Inside the app I was greeted by a message informing me that I was a bit early (it was only 8:30am after all) and that a selection of hotels would be available later. I was already imagining the scene of me sleeping outside Euston station – damn, maybe I should have brought that sleeping bag…
True to their word though, half an hour later, there were several properties available for my perusal. Relief.
The app itself
The app itself is pretty slick and brings a feeling of luxury that I haven’t seen in other travel apps. Less of the bright blue of bookers or fuchsia of lastminute.com (as much as we love pink here at RouteSalad) and more of a dark, sophisticated feel of an up-market service – which is probably a good thing considering the price of some of these hotels…
So how much can you expect to pay on HotelTonight? Due to the very nature of their business, the hotels (and prices) on the app vary from day to day – even throughout the course of the day as rooms fall in and out of availability. Be warned however, I don’t think anyone would call these hotels cheap, not in London at least, and you’ll most likely get a better deal by booking further in advance and following all our top tips to saving on your accommodation.
One thing I did really like about HotelTonight though was the range of hotel options they offered. Okay, so there aren’t hundreds of hotels for any given location, but there always seems to be a couple in each of HotelTonight’s categories: Luxe, Hip, Basic, Solid, Charming.
As I’m still living on a student budget for the time being (read: cheapskate) I, of course, flicked through the Basic options before settling for the Tune Hotel Westminster: £90. Thanks to my £59 of free credit (keep reading to see how you can get some free HotelTonight credit too!) the room came to a total of £34. Not bad for a night in London, I thought.
Checking in and chilling out
Tune Hotel Westminster had a check in time of 3pm, so I arrived shortly after to check in. After explaining that I had booked through HotelTonight (and therefore lacked a printed booking confirmation) I was simply asked to show my driving license as ID.
“Okay so you’re in room 12,” the receptionist explained, “just downstairs and around the corner”.
Free added extras
Thanks to HotelTonight, I was given some free extras which are otherwise chargeable at Tune Hotels, including wifi, towels, toiletries and TV (yes, you usually have to pay for the TV!)
As it happens, I didn’t really like the hotel. The room was super-cramped and the absence of natural light made for a claustrophobic experience. But such is life when booking cheap hotels in London. This wasn’t exactly within HotelTonight’s control though so I won’t tar them with the same brush; I’ll write a separate review for the joyous Tune Hotel Westminster…
Free credit for HotelTonight and HotelQuickly!
The great thing about these new apps is that they all offer loads of free credit for your first booking!
To use the codes below, download from your app store and enter in the credits screen when requested.
And what’s more, you can earn even more free HotelQuickly credit and HotelTonight credit by referring your friends from inside the apps!
Top tips for HotelTonight, HotelQuickly and other last-minute hotel apps
- When rooms are gone, they’re gone – so if you see a hotel you love, buy it early!
- Prices can go up OR down throughout the day to match supply and demand, so you might want to hold off on buying early, especially if you have a contingency plan
- Do some independent research on your hotel – or you might end up staying in a cave