Back in January HotelTonight began enabling hotels to offer cheaper hotels to certain guests using the location of their mobile phone.
Such has been the success of the initiative, according to boss Sam Shank, that the capability is now being widened so the rates are now available from 6am instead of midday.
Shank says almost 40% of eligible HotelTonight hotels are now running a GeoRate with discounts ranging from 10-30% depending on the individual property. Eligibility is based on how hotels connect with the company.
Some numbers shared on GeoRates, as the initiative is now termed, show about 56% of users are presented with the rates.
From the hotels' point of view the rates convert more than four-and-a-half times higher than standard rates so for properties with empty rooms it seems like a good bet.
The Godfrey hotel in Chicago saw a 37% increase in same-day bookings after 3pm by targeting bookers nearby the property. The GeoRates also helped the hotel increase market share and incremental booking revenue by almost 30%.
"What I like is that GeoRates uses the technology of the mobile phone in a unique way by leveraging the location of the customer."
He also shared some thoughts on further developments for HotelTonight and current industry trends:
On data services as a HotelTonight product
In recent weeks Expedia has been talking about helping hotels to improve performance with dynamic market pricing data while last week TripAdvisor unveiled Review Performance for its registered businesses. Would HotelTonight do a B2B product?
"We're a very data intensive company with a business intelligence group. Collecting and analysing that data led us to do things like GeoRates.
"We have a lot of data to help hotels figure out when and how to change pricing and we're doing a number of things already. We're not announcing anything but it is a great opportunity for us."
He adds that the company has some developments in the pipeline along helping hotels offer more rooms to the right customer.
On instant booking trends - TripAdvisor and Google
Google quietly lifted the lid on its instant booking service in the Summer while TripAdvisor has been making advances with its platform announcing a deal with Priceline most recently.
"This is a real testament into all the work they (TripAdvisor) have put into that platform and it validates the strategy. Its stock went up 20% on the day and justifiably so."
Does Google send shivers down his back?
"It's great to have additional distribution channels, it's great for consumers to have choice."
On HotelTonight's unique selling point/value proposition since extending beyond same-day hotels
"We focus on the mobile customer and the mobile era and we're still very differentiated in terms of how it feels and how it looks. People tell us we understand their needs and we're helping them save time and save money."
Shank says it means a couple of different things to different people. It could be a business that has successfully grown or one that is deemed to be "wrecklessly spending."
"If it's a business that has gotten to a successful level in valuation and mindshare, it's flattering to be in that group."
Tnooz asks what about businesses that have attracted a lot funding but now don't seem to know where to go.
"We're growing 100% year-over-year in all our metrics - revenue and bookings. We're focused on being a meaningful and significant company for the long term. We're on that path and it is not something out of reach."
From WebinTravel - Beware of unicorn aspirations