#find a hotel
Best apps for booking last-minute hotel rooms
- More than half of all hotel phone bookings are made the same day
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Imagine this scenario: You’re at a party and you’ve had a couple of cocktails and you don’t want to make that 45-minute journey home.
Or you’re on a road trip, and you just need a few hours of sleep before you make that final push to your destination.
Or maybe you’re on a business trip and your work is not yet done. So you’ve got to spend one more night in town and the hotel you were at is sold out.
There are all sorts of reasons that force travelers to book a hotel room at the last minute. It used to be that you’d have to pick up your phone and call several hotels to see if they had a room in your price range.
Now, there are a number of mobile apps that either specialize in last-minute hotel bookings or have sections that do.
According to market research company PhoCusWright, 18% of online sales at hotels this year — or $7.5 billion — will come from Smartphone and tablets on websites and apps. More than half of all phone bookings are made the same day.
Here are a few of the best apps:
(Free, available on Android, iOS, Windows Phone)
Priceline is best known as a hotel bidding site. You name your price and desired star rating of the hotel, and you book the room without knowing the name of the hotel. First you choose the location and the star level, and then you enter your bid. I asked for a five-star hotel in Downtown D.C. near the White House. The median retail price for that kind of hotel, I was told, was $351. If I didn’t want to bid on a room, I could opt for an “Express Deal” instead for a similar hotel for $282 but I’d have to be comfortable with finding out the name of the hotel after booking. I decided to place a bid for $250. I got a room for a total of $296.81 with taxes and fees. But I would not find out the name of the hotel until I typed in my credit card number. If I didn’t feel comfortable with that, I could browse the day’s dozens of available hotel rooms, organized by proximity to where I was. The closest hotel to me, 0.4 miles away, was the four-star Omni Shoreham at $289. It had a guest score of 9.1 out of 10. The score, based on 132 reviews, was broken down into cleanliness, dining, staff and location. A photo gallery and list of amenities were also available.
(Free, available on Android, iOS)