I’m always on the look out for apps and gadgets that will make my travel experiences easier and just better overall. The Travel Tech series will review programs and hardware that are related to the travel and tourism industry and marketed for consumers like you and I. See something you’d like me to test and review? Send me a message!
This week I’m checking out the free Hotel Tonight app for iOS. The program claims it can find the most convenient hotel deals for you based on your location. Stranded in an unfamiliar place? You can open the app, turn on your location, and get a list of available hotels, with some at discounted rates.
The Basic hotels are your bare-bones hotels and motel chains, Solids are business traveler hotels, Hip accomodations are often boutique or independent hotels in areas with a lot of nightlife, and Luxe hotels are the creme de la creme of the offerings in that particular area.
I live in Atlanta, Georgia where it rarely snows, and when it does – the city shuts down. Recently we had an inconvenient snowstorm, and as the cold stuff hit our unsalted streets, I started looking around for hotels to take in office workers who were stranded within the city. I found several different options through Hotel Tonight, each hotel labeled with different categorizations like charming, highroller, basic, solid, hip, and luxe.
You can save hotels to your favorites list (mine are all either Hip or Luxe for staycation purposes) and book a room right from the app itself. Each hotel listing includes a short blurb about the place and the area surrounding it, along with reviews (good and bad) from Hotel Tonight users.
The discounts on the hotels ranged from a few dollars off of the list price to nearly 50% off in some cases. You can also unlock the “Geo Rate” which gives you a much lower price on area hotels if you are currently located near one of them.
After checking on the app for a couple of weeks, I found the lowest prices in my area on Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturday mornings. Buyer beware: the hotel may have fees outside of those charged by the app, and all prices are non-refundable.
Back to the storm: as the snow swirled outside, I scrolled through my choices on the app and was surprised by all of the hotels I’d never noticed or visited that are nearby. I chose a boutique hotel from the “Luxe” category, and just as I was about to book through the app – I thought to compare prices online. I found the same hotel price on Expedia, but the booking fees were lower, so I used Expedia to book instead.
The app is fantastic for identifying quality hotels in my area, and I’m certainly keeping it on my phone in case I find myself in an unfamiliar town and need to quickly find a place to stay. Since I was just looking for a nice staycation, I had time to do a price comparison, and while Hotel Tonight’s fees are not the lowest in the business, the app makes up for it with convenience.