Airbnb to Buy HotelTonight, Pushing Deeper into the Hotel Industry

by Jessica Montevago
Airbnb to Buy HotelTonight, Pushing Deeper into the Hotel Industry

Photo: Shutterstock


One of the early disrupters of the lodging space, Airbnb made waves in the industry when it began allowing travelers to rent a spare room from homeowners on its platform more than a decade ago. A lot has changed since then – the company is now valued at more than $30 billion, and has expanded its travel offerings to include private tours, boutique hotel rooms, and bed and breakfasts.

Delving even further into the hotel space, the company announced Thursday plans to acquire last-minute booking platform, HotelTonight, for an undisclosed amount, as it prepares for an initial public offering. HotelTonight was last valued at $463 million in the private market.

The HotelTonight app and website will continue to operate as its own brand, Airbnb said. HotelTonight’s CEO Sam Shank will report to Greg Greeley, Airbnb’s president of homes, and run the boutique hotel category.

“A big part of building an end-to-end travel platform is serving every guest, whether they plan their trip a year or a day in advance,” said Airbnb CEO Brian Chesky. “Working with the incredible team at HotelTonight, we will offer guests an unparalleled, last-minute travel experience that provides unique, memorable hospitality on every trip, on any schedule, at any time.”

HotelTonight will add more options to Airbnb users, such as economy hotel chains, though there are no plans to immediately add HotelTonight’s hotel inventory to Airbnb’s platform.

Airbnb has been adding alternatives to its portfolio over the past several years as it looks to go beyond vacation homes and apartments.

Competing with OTAs, it added guestrooms to its platform from bed and breakfasts, boutique hotels, and other hospitality venues like hostels and resorts, and has since doubled the number of rooms offered in the past year, according to Airbnb. The company ventured into tours in 2016, selling customized multi-day packaged trips, and is also rumored to be interested in offering transportation reservations in the future.

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I do think there are possibilities for traveler advisors to make money doing domestic trips. I charge a planning fee for my time and expertise, and then book commissionable hotels and activities that meet the client’s needs.

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