Digital Booking Sites

HotelTonight expands in Europe and Mexico with localized language capabilities

@SamShankman

Dec 11, 2012 12:53 am

Skift Take

Shank doesn’t reveal where the service will launch next, but Asia – a popular destination for both business and leisure travelers – seems like the smart next step after Europe.

— Samantha Shankman

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HotelTonight  / HotelTonight

Gift cards are now available for HotelTonight. HotelTonight / HotelTonight


HotelTonight announced today that its discounted same-day hotel bookings are now available in five new international cities: Paris, Nice, Brussels, Mexico City, and Acapulco. This is the app’s first move into continental Europe after launching in the United Kingdom this June.

HotelTonight is also releasing new versions of its iPhone, iPad, and Android apps in French, German, Italian, and Spanish.

The translations were done by locals in an effort to capture the “local culture and flavor” of each location. Sam Shank, founder of HotelTonight, told Skift that he wanted to maintain the company’s voice in every language.

“We have unique voice that’s helpful and easy to read. It’s entertaining and funny. If we just translated it [by Google Translate or a translation firm] we’d miss out on that,” says Shank. “Sarcasm works differently in Germany than in the U.S. We had to rethink what was funny and that’s going to be different in Germany than the U.S.”

European incumbents

HotelTonight is entering a market in Europe where several startups have begun building upon the last-minute booking model. One newcomer Hot Hotels launched last month when it claimed to have 50,000 downloads. HotelTonight has 3.7 million.

HotelTonight faces little competition from these apps in the competition for U.S. travelers looking for rooms abroad, and the company hopes its localized language capabilities will make it the app of choice with local users as well.

HotelTonight will also add to its North American inventory and offer last-minute rooms in Calgary, Vail/Breckenridge, and Lake Tahoe. This will be welcomed news for skiiers that live near the slopes.

Stocking stuffers

Following in the footprints of Uber, HotelTonight is introducing HotelTonight Gift Cards. Vouchers in the amounts of $25, $50, $100, and $250 can be used towards bookings at any of the hotels offered through the app.

What is Shank’s ultimate goal for the app? “World domination, that’s what every good travel company should be doing.”

Here are examples of the localized French and Spanish HotelTonight apps:

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