Using HotelTonight For a Hotel Tonight

The much-lauded hotel booking app HotelTonight, as the name suggests, is designed for same-day bookings and promises savings up to 70 percent off.

What kind of a lunatic books on the SAME DAY they need a hotel room? Well, judging from the last-minute hotel booking sites that have popped up recently ('s Tonight and Priceline's Tonight Only will be reviewed here at a later date), plenty of people, it seems.

I searched for a hotel room tonight, in Manhattan on HotelTonight.  You can't search for rooms until noon eastern time, so at noon precisely, I searched with the goal of finding the best available rate at a hotel in Manhattan and got nine options - three downtown, three midtown and three uptown.

Step 1: Search on HotelTonight for best available rate at a Manhattan hotel

Step 2. Search for these same hotels on Expedia for check in tonight and took the best available rate

Step 3. Search on each individual hotel website for the best available rate


HotelTonight Price

Expedia Price

Hotel Website Price

Hotel Elysee: $255

Hotel Elysee: $371

Hotel Elysee: $350

The Surrey: $320

The Surrey: $615

The Surrey: $492

Dream New York:  $215

Dream New York: not found

Dream New York: $254

Cassa Hotel and Residences: $189

Cassa Hotel and Residences: $349

Cassa Hotel and Residences: $230

Affinia Manhattan: $199

Affinia Manhattan: $234

Affinia Manhattan: $230

Amsterdam Court: $150

Amsterdam Court: $150

Amsterdam Court: sold out

Gild Hall, A Thompson Hotel: $199

Gild Hall, A Thompson Hotel: $269

Gild Hall, A Thompson Hotel: $189

Hilton Garden Inn Tribeca: $189

Hilton Garden Inn Tribeca: $249

Hilton Garden Inn Tribeca: $249

Gansevoort Park Ave $364

Gansevoort Park Ave: not found

Gansevoort Park Ave: $405

In the seven instances HotelTonight competed with Expedia, it beat Expedia six times and tied once.

In the eight times HotelTonight competed with the hotels' own websites, it beat them seven times and lost once (in the case of Gild Hall, A Thompson Hotel). It's odd that Amsterdam Court claimed to be sold out on their website, but I did check HotelTonight first and it's possible by the time I got to the hotel site, it had been booked up.

Bottom Line

HotelTonight did a great job at offering deals on last-minute hotel bookings.

So what's the downside? You can't shop until noon, which can make last-minute travel booking all the more stressful. The options are limited: Only nine were returned by HotelTonight, compared with more than 500 by Expedia. If you're hoping to score a deal at a particular hotel, there's a very good chance you'll be out of luck.  Finally, HotelTonight is only good for domestic hotel bookings.

Even for people who aren't inclined toward last-minute travel, HotelTonight can be useful. Stranded at the airport by bad weather? Need to make an unplanned overnight stop on a family road trip? The app could come in handy in both situations.

And with the savings I'm seeing,  maybe a spontaneous hotel stay is in my future. Time to start planning.