25 Moments that Mattered in 2015: To make our selection of 25 moments, we thought back to the stories that drove reader engagement and sparked discussion among both travel experts and the general public. Some stories were quick blips that represented bigger things while others were narratives that built slowly through out the year. Each one, though, spoke to where we are right now when it comes to the big business of global travel.
Last-minute hotel booking sites and apps such as Booking.com’s BookingNow have caught up to first-mover HotelTonight, which debuted its app exclusively for same-day bookings five years ago and subsequently discovered the market was too niche and expanded to hotel bookings seven days in advance.
HotelTonight, which has raised some $81 million in venture capital funding at a valuation of around $320 million, recently axed 20 percent of its staff, around 37 employees. HotelTonight CEO Sam Shank insists the company’s prospects are still healthy and the move was needed to position itself for the long term but there is abundant skepticism about the road ahead.
When we asked in August whether it was crisis time for HotelTonight or all systems go, the answer now clearly seems to be the former as the company struggles to grow at a clip amidst all the competition to justify the hefty valuation.
And if HotelTonight is stumbling, what will become of its peers that have less money and fewer users?
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Photo credit: HotelTonight's app HotelTonight