That is, he doesn't want the service to be seen as cannibalizing but complementing other hotel business.
"These are people who would have stayed home or returned home," Shank said. "They have a tool to get a great hotel at a great, phenomenal, last-minute rate."
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The free app, for both iOS and Android devices, features hotels at 100 destinations in 12 countries across North America and Europe, according to a spokesperson for HotelTonight. Downloads for the app, which launched in January 2011, have tripled in the past year, to 6 million.
The San Francisco-based company has raised $35.9 million in funding with partners that include U.S. Venture Partners, Accel Partners, Battery Ventures and First Round Capital.
A midweek search for listings in New York found them running from $100 (marked down from $160) for a "Basic" in Brooklyn to $645 (down from $675) for a "Luxe" in lower Manhattan. Other category tags are "Hip," "Charming" and "Solid." Most rooms were in the $250 to $350 range, although a notice cited unusually high prices because of a large expo.
HotelTonight is unlike those online bookers offering so-called opaque deals, Shank said. "You know the name, where it's located. You know the amenities. You can see the bar. You don't want to book an opaque hotel on a service like Priceline or [Expedia's] Hotwire and find out it's ... much further away than expected."