HotelTonight wants to wow more millennials by gamifying travel booking

HotelTonight, the mobile app that lets you book last-minute discounted hotel rooms, is making a bigger play for millennial stays. On Tuesday, the startup announced a new feature called Daily Drop, which promises a guaranteed 30% off online travel agency room rates.

It’s meant to be a funner, more rewarding experience for users looking to snag the ultimate deal. The time-bound, countdown-led Daily Drop is unlike other online booking deals, which usually offer discounts on unknown hotels. The feature needs to be “unlocked” by the user, and joins a host of other features, such as secret amenity searches, using emojis. The idea is to “gamify” travel booking, though it’s unclear how much sway such features have on the booking experience.

A HotelTonight rep says hotels are keen to partner with app on the new service–offering uncharacteristically discounted prices–in hopes of accessing younger audiences “who are high-value, incremental bookers.”

[Photo: courtesy of HotelTonight]

HotelTonight has had success with previous features, such as geo-tracking users who might need a last-minute bed following big events or experiences. AdWeek recently applauded the company’s ability to zero in on micro-moments, defined as “instances in customers’ decision-making process where a brand can step in with relevant content.”

For example, HotelTonight figured out that traveling die-hard baseball fans might be open to staying over near a stadium should a game run into extra innings. The app monitors games, then alerts those who are still in their seat during the game’s conclusion with a deal in their price range. (It refrains from sending such alerts to those who already left the stadium).

Last-minute deals have become increasingly popular with American travelers. Half of stays are booked within three days of arrival, reports Sojourn, while Google Data found that 50% of mobile users say they now feel comfortable booking their entire trip on their phone.

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