The last-minute hotel booking space is getting crowded. First we had HotelTonight and then Booking.com rolled out their own spontaneous hotel booking app, Booking Now. Now, Kayak enters into the fray in an attempt to provide more of the all-in travel possibilities to app users by adding a tab to their app – Hotel for Tonight.
Of course, Priceline and Hotwire have been around for a while and are great for last minute bookings of any kind, but it is great to see apps rolled out by online travel agencies with the express purpose of letting you book some of that last minute hotel inventory from your phone.
Last Minute Hotels With Apps
Each app is going to have its own strengths and I do not think that any one is going to be the catch-all at this point. HotelTonight runs some decent-to-great promos from time to time (they ran a 10% off sale last week for Valentine’s Day) and Booking Now has the depth of hotel choices (in some examples I used, it is almost 80 to 1 vs HotelTonight’s hotel allotment). Now we have Kayak and from some of the cases I have run already, they can be quite competitive in beating Booking Now’s rates (which I have found to consistently beat out HotelTonight’s non-promo rates) while losing out to Booking Now on other rates. Definitely need to check between the two as some of the more expensive properties can be as far apart as $50 or more!
Another plus that Kayak has going for it is that they have rolled this last-minute booking tab right into an update for their smartphone app that already offers cars, hotels, airline tickets and many resource items (exploring deals, keeping trips organized, price alerts, flight tracker, airline info, and airport info). Kayak would currently be the first one that I will pull up when I am in such a situation since it is an app I use quite often for all my other travel needs.
Does Kayak’s addition to the spontaneous hotel booking category help out? Not really! It just makes yet one more place to check for that last minute hotel, but if it can save you a few dollars, why not have the ability to comparison shop? It sure beats the old-fashioned way of walking into hotels at random to ask them what their rate was for a last minute room!
According to Kayak, the top 10 last minute destinations for hotel bookings are:
- New York
On my searches across Manhattan, I found Booking Now and Kayak to seesaw back and forth with the win on prices while HotelTonight couldn’t even touch the amount of hotels as the other two. However, in one hotel that all three had in common, the Park Hotel in Manhattan, I was able the way they checked out – HotelTonight – $115 / Booking Now – $119 / Kayak – $166. So, for now, you will continue to need to just check them all to see what will give you the best prices! (Btw, I saw the great Andaz 5th Avenue available for only $189 – a steal for that hotel if anyone is going to be in NYC tonight!🙂 )
To try it out, hit up your smartphone app store for the update to the Kayak app. I cannot speak to the Android version but the Kayak app was just updated a couple of days ago.