Groupon's launch of tonight-only hotel deals in its mobile apps isn't exactly the "shot heard 'round the world," but Groupon has the audience and scale to do some damage.
Ten months after acquiring Madrid-based same-day hotel app Blink, Groupon launched a last-minute and mostly tonight-only hotel-booking feature in its mobile apps to compete against HotelTonight and similar apps around the world.
These Getaway Tonight deals are mobile-only, and are sourced through a new extranet that enables hoteliers to load their last-minute, distressed inventory at any time, a Groupon spokesperson says.
When searching Groupon’s iOS app or hotel deals in Chicago within a new Hotel tab, I found a Getaway Tonight deal last night for the Inn of Chicago, part of the Ascend Hotel Collection, for a base rate of $159. The mobile-only deal was said to represent a 27% discount off published rates.
The room type with Getaway Tonight deals are assigned at check-in. Expedia.com had a standard room with a queen bed at the same property last night for a base rate of $219.
These same-day hotel deals, which hoteliers may optionally extend for subsequent days, is part of a new Hotel tab in Groupon’s apps that it has been testing since early this year but rolled out fully in conjunction with the launch of Getaway Tonight deals.
Under the Hotel Tab, users will find Getaway Tonight hotel deals, as well as flash sales and Market Picks, which are basically published rates from Expedia, but come with a 5% Groupon Bucks credit.
Groupon’s entry into the tonight-only hotel deals sector has been much-anticipated since it acquired Blink in September 2013.
Blink apps haven’t been shuttered, but are strictly for Europe, the Middle East, and Africa, the Groupon spokesperson says.
What Groupon brings to the proposition is a large mobile presence and user base. Groupon states that more than 50% of its transactions take place using mobile devices, and its apps have attracted 80 million downloads.
HotelTonight co-founder and CEO Sam Shank didn’t seem too fearful about Groupon’s entry into the same-day hotel-booking sector, arguing that HotelTonight has an advantage in that it focuses solely on tonight-only deals, and he expressed confidence that his company’s hotel deals will hold up favorably compared with Groupon’s.
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Photo credit: Groupon debuted tonight-only hotel deals and a Hotel tab (not shown) to go along with Getaways, Goods and other categories in its mobile apps. Groupon