What to Know Now

In 2010, Hotel Tonight changed the travel industry by making same-day bookings mainstream. The company has enjoyed stratospheric growth including over $80M in funding and it’s even spawned a host of competitors.

So far, none of those copycats have been able to compete with Hotel Tonight’s significant head start. But Booking.com thinks it can. With the launch of their “Booking now,” app last week, Booking.com is putting Hotel Tonight directly in its crosshairs, delivering a very similar product with a solid batch of inventory. It’s not a new product for Booking.com — they’ve done tonight only deals for a while now — but it is a new focus.

Once more, the question comes down to how well it will be adopted. As for myself and many business travelers I know, I’ll continue to plan my hotel stays weeks in advance.

Subscribe to the newsletter here and send tips to gm@skift.com or @grantkmartin.

Social Quote of the Day

Booking.com’s new app for last-minute deals will probably kill HotelTonight http://wrd.cm/1C40Mzt

– @Wired


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Qatar Airways Becomes First Commercial Airliner to Fly Airbus’ Newest Plane: The world’s newest jetliner, the Airbus A350, took to the skies Thursday carrying its first paying passengers from the Gulf Arab nation of Qatar. Read more at Skift

U.S. Airlines Planning More Cuba Flights As Restrictions Drop: Now that U.S. airlines are free to add scheduled services to Cuba, we look at which are ready to jump into this new market. Read more at Skift

Bankrupt South African Airways Has a 90-Day Plan It Hopes Will Save It: South African Airways is exploring funding options for the business and investigating corporate governance failures as part of a 90-day action plan intended to restore the state-owned carrier to solvency. Read more at Skift

The World’s Best Airlines for the Economy Long-Haul Experience: We’ve put on our thinking caps to develop a rating methodology which helps us determine the best cabin experiences around the world. Read more at Skift

Gates At Abu Dhabi International Airport:ADIA


Abu Dhabi Airport’s U.S. Customs Pre-Clearance Program Is Extended: After a successful year of operations United States Customs and Border Protection (CBP) preclearance program at Abu Dhabi airport will be extended to all travellers on Etihad Airways flights, the airline announced. Read more at Skift

Heathrow Is Still Busiest European Hub, But Istanbul Is Surging: London’s Heathrow airport, Paris Charles de Gaulle and Frankfurt retained their positions as Europe’s busiest hubs, with Istanbul Ataturk jumping to fourth place over Amsterdam Schiphol as its growth surged. Read more at Skift

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August: Smart Home Tech For Travelers: One of the biggest trends coming out of this year’s CES? Smart home tech. And while these automated appliances and home fixtures may seem far from the realm of travel, we’ve found that they’re surprisingly not—especially if you’re interested in turning your home into a vacation rental. Read more at Travel + Leisure

Google Translate’s App Update Should Make Pocket Dictionary Publishers Nervous: Deciphering the meaning of a street sign in Berlin or communicating with a waiter in Bangkok got much simpler this week with Google Translate’s new app update for Android and iOS users. Read more at Skift

Microsoft Outlook Hacked In China, New Report Finds: Only a few weeks after Google’s Gmail service was blocked in China, a new report from online censorship monitoring organization GreatFire.org released this morning states that Microsoft’s email system Outlook was recently subjected to a “man-in-the-middle” attack in China. Read more at TechCrunch



A Virgin Hotel Finally Opens, Hopes Snazzy App Will Set It Apart: It appears the day many thought would never come has finally arrived: Virgin Hotels opened its first property in Chicago yesterday. Read more at Skift

Caesars Entertainment Bets It’s the Las Vegas Version of Too Big to Fail: Financial problems plaguing Caesars Entertainment and its casino empire have the company considering a trip to bankruptcy court, possibly as early as Thursday. Read more at Skift

Your Turn

Did everyone see our own Jason Clampet on CNBC last week? Dapper indeed.

Tips and Comments

Can be sent to gm@skift.com and @grantkmartin. We publish the Business Newsletter twice a week on Tuesday and Thursday, but sometimes on Friday.

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Photo Credit: HotelTonight is facing increased pressure from brands like Booking.com. Skift