Audit of last-minute travel booking sites (e.g., Hotel Tonight) and their most attractive value propositions

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Audit of last-minute travel booking sites (e.g., Hotel Tonight) and their most attractive value propositions

Hello! Thanks for your question about an audit of last-minute travel booking sites and their most attractive value propositions. The short version is people book hotels at the last minute to save money, and business people are most likely to book flights at the last minute. Airbnb’s continual growth is putting pressure on hotels.
Below you will find a deep dive of my findings.


We searched trusted media sites, corporate websites, user forums, and review sites.

Reasons people book last minute

For hotels, people book at the last minute to save money. According to HotelTonight, a third of all hotel rooms sit empty every night. Hotels are eager to fill these rooms, allowing travelers to get last-minute special rates.

The reverse is true for flights. Those most likely to book a last-minute flight are business people whose travel expenses are covered by their company. According to "Time," airlines take advantage of that fact and increase the price of flights closer to the takeoff date.

popular sites for last-minute booking

According to a recent "Forbes" article, "Airbnb’s continual growth adds mounting pressure to hotels around the world." The article cites 3 popular cell phone apps for last-minute hotel booking: HotelTonight, HotelQuickly, and One Night.

Travelzoo is a global media commerce company, with more than 28 million members in North America, Europe, and Asia Pacific. According to their website, "We have our Test Booking Center® research every Top 20® deal before we publish it," and "We are independent in our reviews."

how these sites give customers the best deal

Amanda Richardson, HotelTonight's Chief Data and Strategy Officer, says, "We have an entire team dedicated to making sure we have the best last-minute supply."

Richardson goes on to explain, "The inventory's constantly changing based on when hotels sell out or fill up or decide they've had enough or whatever the case is. I mean, we have hotel revenue managers who log in and change rates 20 to 30 times a day, where they're changing rates and trying to arbitrage and figure out how to attract people."

KAYAK is a meta-searcher that searches other sites to find travelers the best deals.

Holiday Pirates takes pride in their extensive manual research. The company states, "The prices were always available online somewhere—but no one had taken the trouble to search through the internet to find them with a view to publishing them."


To wrap it up, people book hotels at the last minute to save money. Last-minute flights are often booked by business people. Travelzoo, KAYAK, and Holiday Pirates are popular last-minute booking sites. On one end of the spectrum, KAYAK uses meta searches to find customers the best deal, while Holiday Pirates does extensive manual research.

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