As with most things in travel, the art of booking a hotel has been transforming thanks to the ubiquity of smartphones. Just as apps such as Uber, Lyft, and Hailo have revolutionized the process of hailing a ride, and a variety of airline apps have eliminated the need to keep track of a paper boarding pass, a litany of new hotel booking apps has made it easier than ever to make last-minute reservations or find a good deal. Here are the latest to come on the scene:Hotelwatchdog : You’re probably familiar with Airfarewatchdog, the comparison tool that keeps tabs on fare drops for flagged routes as well as general flights departing out of users' home airports. Its weeks-old app aims to analyze and compare hotels as well -- for price, location, and traveler reviews. These three filters are applied to all hotel searches to essentially curate a short list of properties that checks off all the boxes, perfect for those who are o ften overwhelmed by the hundreds or even thousands of results that they might see on other booking sites.
Amazon Travel: This one hasn't quite rolled out yet, but it's certainly one to watch for. After all, who hasn't used this retailer giant at one point or another? Amazon's hotel booking service is expected to launch at the very beginning of next year, though we're not sure what savings users might find. Our friends at Skift reports their plans to have hotels list rack rates, which tend to be higher, but the rooms would also be pre-paid, which is traditionally a way to shave up to 20 percent off more flexible rates.
Skyscanner Hotels: Skyscanner is another comparison site, best known for its impeccable tracking of aircraft all around the globe, that's also dived into the business of hotel booking earlier this fall. It’s a visually-driven app that allows you to narrow down your choices based on a wide host of filters, from lowest cost to guest ratings to proximity to local hotspots. One added bonus is that it also enables mobile booking of hostels -- great for those backpacking around with only a vague idea of where they’ll be from day to day.
Getaways by Groupon: As arguably the biggest game-changer on the whole "group purchasing power" front, Groupon has made a name for itself by providing localized deals and discounts to the masses. And while the company has long since offered multi-day trips on its website, it recently ushered in an app that’s designed specifically to find lodging. Available for free on iOS and Android to users in North America, the app is designed to help you save money on single day stays as well as extended trips.
Roomlia: HotelTonight was once the app to find excellent rates for last-minute, day-of lodging. This August, Roomlia came on the market to offer discounted bookings for the next seven days, great for those who plan late but perhaps don't quite fly as much by the seat of their plans. We should note that in September HotelTonight also expanded its booking period to one week -- but deal hunters know that it never hurts to compare inventory and prices across different apps.
HotelQuickly: Available now for iPhone, BlackBerry 10, and Android, this app also provides access to loads of heavily discounted hotel rooms for last-minute bookings -- but particularly in the Asia-Pacific region. This is exciting considering the most popular hotel apps so far are useful in North America only, and even then, options outside of major metropolitan areas are limited. It's a must-download for Americans looking to hop around a bit in one of the world’s most extraordinary regions.
Have any other hotel apps worth sharing? Let us know in comments below!