Airbnb To Buy HotelTonight As It Pushes Deeper Into Hotel Booking

Airbnb To Buy HotelTonight As It Pushes Deeper Into Hotel Booking

Airbnb wants to become the go-to place for anyone booking a trip—even if they want to stay in a hotel. The company, which built a business valued at $31 billion by matching travelers to homeowners with a room to spare, said Thursday it plans to acquire last-minute booking platform HotelTonight.

Airbnb will continue to run the HotelTonight brand, including its website and booking app. HotelTonight’s CEO, Sam Shank, will now run Airbnb’s luxury hotel business line, and most of the company’s employees will be joining Airbnb, which did not disclose the price of the deal.

It’s a symbolic acquisition for the peer-to-peer travel company that has been in a love-hate relationship with the hotel industry for years. Even as Airbnb and the hotel industry have waged acrimonious fights in cities like New York over the past 10 years, it has gradually warmed up to at least the boutique and luxury hotel industry. In February 2018, Airbnb announced that hotels would be a separate category on its website. At the time, it already had 24,000 boutique hotel rooms and over 180,000 B&Bs. Those numbers have more than doubled in the past year, according to Airbnb.

Adding HotelTonight will help Airbnb’s image of being a go-to for more than just bespoke vacation homes or shared apartments. Started in 2010 by Shank, a travel entrepreneur, HotelTonight became known for offering great deals on last-minute hotel bookings via its website and app. The San Francisco-based startup had previously raised around $117 million in venture capital from investors including Accel, Coatue Management and Battery Ventures. In 2016, HotelTonight made Forbes Next Billion-Dollar Startups list after generating an estimated $60 million in revenue that year.

Play For Business Travelers

HotelTonight’s last-minute deals also became particularly popular for business travelers, a market segment that Airbnb has been trying to court for years.

Read rest of the article at Forbes

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