Smart travelers understand that a travel agent is the best resource for booking a hotel room at a good rate.
But what if you find yourself in NYC, San Francisco, London, Philadelphia or some place else with the need to make a last-minute hotel reservation.
Hotels do offer discounts late night on their unsold inventory. These discounts can sometimes cross 50%.
Ask any guy who's ever worked at the front desk of a hotel and if you know him well he'll confide about the steep discounts offered late night to savvy bargainers to keep rooms full. After all, a room is a perishable commodity and if you can't monetize it tonight it's gone forever.
But what if you're like me, socially inept and completely hopeless at bargaining.
Well, if you're like me but still hanker for a nice discount on the steep hotel room rates then I'd recommend you take a look at a nifty mobile application called Hotel Tonight
Available for both Apple's iOS platform and Google's Android devices, Hotel Tonight
lets users make last minute bookings from their iPhone, iPad, iPod touch and Android devices.
If you're in the Apple camp, you can download the free Hotel Tonight
app from the App Store.
Should you be in the Google camp, get the app from Google Play
As the name of the application makes it clear, Hotel Tonight
is not about Hotel Tomorrow or Hotel Next Friday.
It's for Tonight
This means there are some limitations. Hey, if you're getting a discount there are bound to be some restrictions. Be realistic, will ya.
First, you can make a reservation only after 12PM for the night. But you can book for multiple nights.
Second, you can't select room type. That will be assigned at check-in.
Ditto with bed-type. Again, to be assigned at check-in.
But the folks at Hotel Tonight
promise that every room will fit at least two people.
So, that's some relief. You don't have to worry about your boy-friend, girl-friend or spouse being left out in the cold.
Finally, here's the biggest caveat - All bookings are final.
You will not get a refund even if your favorite grandma in Timbuktu breaks her leg and you must take the next flight out of Atlanta to be at her bedside.
To give potential customers a sense of the hotel they're booking in, Hotel Tonight
categorizes them into six categories: Basic, Hip, Solid, Charming, Luxe and Ballin'.
While writing this post at 6:50PM on a week day, I checked Hotel Tonight
on my iPad for rooms in New York City. I found 14 hotels offering rooms from $105 (Days Inn JFK Airport) to $344 (Chatwal Hotel). That's not bad for a last-minute room in the Big Apple in summer.
But when I checked for Baltimore, I couldn't find any rooms.
So don't set your expectations too high. Since the number of hotels that have signed up for Hotel Tonight
is still limited you may not find discounted rooms in all the cities.
Besides New York City, Hotel Tonight
offers last-minute discounted rooms for Los Angeles, Las Vegas, Toronto, San Francisco, Atlantic City, Austin, Atlanta, Baltimore, Boston, Chicago, London, Denver, New Orleans and a bunch of other cities.
Download the Hotel Tonight
app to your Apple or Android mobile device and check it out.
Your savings could be substantial in your next last-minute hotel room booking.