Let's face it, before HotelTonight and chums came along the big boys of online travel had probably never even considered carving out a niche for last-minute hotel bookings.
Or if they had, they dismissed it pretty quickly.
But it's now five years since HotelTonight CEO Sam Shank created the company out of his existing DealBase business, and much of the industry has caught up.
Yet it's only now that Priceline has made a big, indeed Priceline-esque, effort to seize on the idea that countless travellers are willing to wait until the last minute to book their accommodation, or suddenly find themselves without somewhere to sleep.
The company unveiled a significant upgrade and marketing push for its existing Tonight-Only search service last week for mobile devices.
Alongside the obvious hullabaloo associated with a big launch, Priceline has circulated the results of a study it did with travellers to understand more about the late booking marketplace.
The results from 1,000, US-based adult travellers are pretty interesting...
Some generic questions about booking windows:
Have you taken a last-minute getaway so far in 2015?
How far in advance do you typically plan your vacations (thinking about where you want to go, how you will travel and what you will do at the destination, etc)?
- 16% - yes, more than one
- 24% - yes, one
- 61% - no
How far in advance do you typically book a hotel stay for your trips?
- 27% Less than one week
- 19% - 1-3 weeks
- 30% - 4-8 weeks
- 24% - 9 weeks or longer
- 31% - less than one week
- 24% - 1-3 weeks
- 29% - 4-8 weeks
- 17% - 9 weeks or longer
The average week to start planning is seven; week five for the hotel booking.
How often, if ever, do you book your hotel accommodations using a mobile travel app (through an app on your smartphone, tablet or other mobile device)?
- 13% - all the time
- 22% - some of the time
- 14% - hardly ever
- Never - 51%
And now some questions about last-minute and mobile bookings:
Was your recent mobile hotel booking for personal/leisure travel, business travel or both?
Was this a new reservation or were you extending a trip you were already on?
- 74% - personal/leisure
- 13% - business
- 13% - both
What was the reason for booking the hotel (same day of travelling)? Check all that apply
- 84% - new reservation
- 12% - extending business trip into leisure
- 4% - extending leisure trip into business
Who were you travelling with for that trip? Check all that apply
- 30% - night out with friends or family
- 19% - visiting friends or family
- 2% - missed/cancelled flight
- 5% - personal emergency
- 15% - business meeting/event
Did you know you would need a hotel before the day you booked it?Why did you wait to book until the day it was needed? Check all that apply
- 25% - just you
- 39% - significant other
- 21% - family with kids under 18
- 7% - family with kids over 18
- 11% - friends
- 4% - co-workers
Did you do any research before the day you booked?
- 35% - confident I could get a hotel
- 3% - forgot I needed a hotel
- 38% - waited to see if a better price was available
- 36% - wasn't sure of location needed
After booking, quickly did you check in to the hotel?
- 40% - yes, looked at options a day or two before
- 25% - yes, looked at options a week or two before
- 35% - no
NB: Hotel clock
- 15% - immediately/within an hour
- 23% - 1-2 hours later
- 23% - 3-4 hours later
- 39% - 5+ hours later
image via Shutterstock.