Airbnb has announced an agreement to buy last-minute hotel booking service Hotel Tonight, as the firm moves beyond its roots as an accommodation-sharing platform.
The group said the move would make it easier “for people who use Airbnb to find last-minute places to stay when Home hosts are often already booked”, and would enable it to “offer guests an unparalleled last-minute travel experience that provides unique, memorable hospitality on every trip, on any schedule, at any time”.
Airbnb said it was part of plans to build “an end-to-end travel platform”, serving every guest “whether they plan their trip a year or a day in advance”.
The company has gradually been expanding its listings beyond rooms and homes offered by private hosts. In a press release it said:
“Over the past few years, we’ve seen an increasing number of hoteliers take inspiration from our Home hosts, making their boutique hotels more unique with custom touches. Last year, we announced our intent to make it easier for these boutique hotels to list on our platform.
“We’ve had an overwhelming response from hoteliers with strong ties to their local communities who want to offer truly personal hospitality: in 2018, we more than doubled the number of rooms available on Airbnb in properties that hosts categorized as boutique hotels, bed and breakfasts, and other hospitality venues like hostels and resorts.
“We’ve also seen Airbnb guests respond enthusiastically to this increased supply, booking three times as many nights with boutique hotels in 2018 compared with 2017.
“Together with Hotel Tonight, we can offer places to stay for every type of traveler on all kinds of trips and make it easier for small businesses and hoteliers who take pride in providing authentic, unique experiences to tap into Airbnb’s truly global network of hosts and guests.”
The group said that it expected the move to have a positive effect for its Home hosts, stating that “nearly 90 percent of guests who first used Airbnb to book a hotel room and returned to our platform for a second trip then booked a home”
Hotel Tonight was founded in 2010, and its app has been downloaded by over 15 million users since it launched.