Airbnb Acquires HotelTonight

The company purchased the booking service in order to accelerate the brand's plan to have boutique properties list faster on the platform, as well as cater to last-minute travelers more efficiently.

Airbnb has entered into an agreement to acquire HotelTonight, a hotel-booking platform focused on last-minute trip options for boutique and independent hotels. This purchase is part of the brand’s larger initiative to create a travel platform that offers users the option of planning their trip with more flexible booking options. 

“As short-term rental platform leaders like Airbnb and HomeAway make booking a short-term rental easier and easier, hotels now have to compete with what’s becoming a very convenient travel option,” Rob Stephens, co-founder & general manager of Avalara MyLodgeTax, a tax collection and remittance software used by major regional and national vacation rental platforms, told Commercial Property Executive. “And it wasn’t always that way. Hotels are now operating in a market where short-term rentals are going to be an increasingly viable and ubiquitous option.”

The HotelTonight platform will continue to operate as usual. HotelTonight’s Co-Founder & CEO Sam Shank will report to Airbnb’s President of Homes Greg Greeley, leading the boutique hotel category once the purchase is complete. 

Accelerated Growth 

The agreement was signed with three major points in mind—to accelerate Airbnb’s work in building a travel platform that serves everyone, to meet the demand for and from boutique hotels and to support home hosts.

This partnership will now let users find last-minute places to stay when most home hosts are already booked, ensuring the availability of private rooms at several different locations. The company announced last year that it would make it easier for boutique and independent hotels to list on their platform, now doubling the number of rooms on Airbnb that would fit under the boutique hotel, bed and breakfast, hostel or resort categories. Lastly, this acquisition will aid in continuing to grow the brand’s community. According to the Airbnb statement, 90 percent of guests who first used the platform to book a hotel room returned for a second trip and booked a home. 

“Airbnb’s acquisition of HotelTonight is further indication that the short-term rental and hotel markets are converging. These companies are responding to traveler needs and demand, so why not have multiple options for travelers on the same website, whether that’s a luxury hotel, short-term rental or a value hotel? Increasingly, hotels and hotel platforms will be competing with short-term rentals on the same platforms,” added Stephens. “The more you get travelers to your site, the better for everybody. Short-term rentals need to be compliant and there’s still some work to go there but leaders like Airbnb and HomeAway are working to meet compliance and regulatory requirements as they evolve in markets across the country.”

In January, Airbnb announced its entrance in the meeting-space arena with the expansion of Airbnb for Work, its platform for supplying rental space to companies and professionals.