Time is limited. Once it’s gone, you can’t gain it back. Similarly, once a room goes unsold for a night, it will go unsold forever. There’s no way to recover that loss, because there’s no way to go back in time.
Many hotels fight this limitation by trying to sell as many rooms as possible. If all the rooms are completely booked, time no longer becomes a factor. But most don’t have the luxury of being at-capacity every single night. That’s why last-minute booking apps are growing in popularity in the industry, where hotels can make the most of each day. These apps specifically target guests who don’t plan far in advance, seeking accommodations from one week to one minute later.
There are several different ways your hotel can benefit from using last-minute booking apps in your business strategy.

1. Create a Mobile Experience
Smartphones are booming in popularity, with many travelers opting to use phones as a way to research and plan trips. Now, a wealth of information is instantly at consumers’ fingertips, including social media, where friends share pictures and videos of exciting destinations. This phenomenon has led people to be more spontaneous with purchases, including traveling.
With 70 percent of same-day hotel bookings made through a smartphone, it’s more important than ever to offer potential guests a seamless mobile experience. That means having availability on last-minute booking sites such as Expedia and Priceline for travelers who prefer not to plan, an increasingly popular trend.
2. List All Property Types
What’s nice about last-minute booking apps is there’s no discrimination on the types of rooms you can list. Whether you own or manage a chain hotel, wholesome bed and breakfast, budget motel or a boutique high-rise, there’s a last-minute booking app that will work for you. It's then up to the app to put your empty rooms in front of the right audience, increasing your chances of booking.
One popular app, Hotel Tonight, deals exclusively with highly rated hotels at discounted prices. Airbnb, on the other hand, is designed for hoteliers offering a unique experience, such as glamping in a luxury yurt or staying in a seaside cottage. Do your research on the last-minute booking apps available and determine which ones will work best for your property type, size and target audience.
3. Increase Bookings
As of 2018, the occupancy rate of the average hotel in the U.S. is 71.4 percent, meaning many hotels face difficulties booking to capacity. With almost one in four rooms going unsold, hoteliers are looking for new ways to fill unoccupied rooms. By listing your hotel on a popular last-minute booking app, you can increase your chances of selling every last available room.
One of the best things about last-minute booking apps is bookers are willing to be more flexible with accommodations. That means your property has the chance to attract guests who wouldn’t usually book a stay, giving you an opportunity to wow them with the experience and possibly gain a new loyal customer.
4. Inspire Last-Minute Shoppers
The last-minute booker is becoming a more common guest type, deciding in just a few days where to travel and which hotel to reserve. By listing with a last-minute booking app, you can appeal to spontaneous travelers while also filling up rooms that would otherwise stay empty.
The most common type of last-minute booker is one driving on vacation, where plans can change based on the weather and gas prices. Kevin Ruhman, VP of sales and marketing at NewcrestImage, a hotel management company, says, “Weather is more of an indicator. We have properties where if the forecast is good, we bloom on leisure last minute. Whatever major city you’re in, the weather will determine if somebody wants to go.”
5. Make More Money
One argument hotelier often have against last-minute booking apps is the discounted rates. However, even if the room sells at a cheaper rate than its rack rate, it’s more lucrative than having a room sitting empty. Research last-minute booking apps, such as HotelQuickly and Hipmunk, to determine if there is a base discount you must offer.
Some revenue managers use yield management systems, which function on mathematical algorithms, to track precisely how many last-minute rooms to list, where to sell them and how to set rates. That way, you can fill rooms with last-minute booking apps while also ensuring you’re gaining a return on investment.
The Benefits of Last-Minute Booking Apps
While traditional booking may be preferable, industry experts say last-minute hotel bookings are only going to grow in popularity. Potential guests are willing to be flexible with accommodations when it comes to planning at the last minute. Cater to the spontaneous traveler while also filling up your available rooms with the right last-minute booking apps.

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