Toe-to-toe With The OTAs

Hotel Tonight Faces off with Expedia, Priceline with Advanced Bookings - Reuters

Excerpt from Reuters

Startup company Hotel Tonight, betting that superior mobile technology will give it an edge, is expanding its hotel-booking offerings and going toe-to-toe with the big online travel companies.

Hotel Tonight early next month will allow users to reserve a hotel up to 100 days in advance - a striking expansion of its original business of offering same-day hotel reservations at a big discount.

"This marks the start of how we are going to compete in the market from now on," said Sam Shank, Hotel Tonight's chief executive officer and co-founder.

The change puts Hotel Tonight more squarely in competition with online travel behemoths Expedia Inc and Priceline Group Inc, which together account for about half of all travel bookings made on mobile devices, according to travel research firm Phocuswright. Hotels themselves comprise about 16 percent.

San Francisco-based Hotel Tonight, which has raised $115 million in venture capital, spent much of last year cutting losses through layoffs and eliminating costly promotions. It went from burning $2 million to $3 million each month to earning a profit, Shank said. But the company is under pressure to grow. 

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