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If you plan to use points and miles to book hotels (or you want to earn them) it’s always best to book hotels on that particular loyalty program or hotel website. But if you are looking for boutique options, have a short-notice stay or simply want to find a lower rate, using an app to book is the way to go. Here, our favorite apps for booking hotels and don’t forget to check out our other apps for booking, documenting and enjoying travel via your smartphone.
This app has always been a TPG favorite — after all, we are constantly on the go and this app was made for the last-minute traveler. Hotel Tonight allows you to book from the same evening up until seven days (100 in some markets) before your stay. Available hotel rooms are categorized into things like basic, luxe, hip, solid, charming and high-roller so you can get a feel for the style of the property. The app works hard to give you the best last-minute rate, and features like being able to save favorites and scroll through reviews and photos make it easy to pick a hotel.
HT Perks is the app’s reward program which has several different levels. As you move up to different levels by reaching specific spend thresholds on the app, you’ll gain access to things like cheaper rates, a free in-app concierge and credits. Plus, your ‘levels’ never expire, so you can only continue to move up, never back down. That’s a loyalty program we’re on board with! If this is your first time using Hotel Tonight, you can get a $25 credit by using the promo code BKELLY99. The app is free to download.
One Night could be considered a “boutique” app — if such a thing exists. It features hip, select hotels in specific US cities available for last-minute bookings. While there are a limited number of cities, everything about this app experience is curated down to the detail — the color scheme, the interface, the black-and-white photos and the chic descriptions. The cities are some of the trendiest in the US — spots like Miami, Nashville, Los Angeles and the Hamptons, and so are the properties. For example, think the Faena or the Standard in Miami, or the Roxy, the Redbury or the Ludlow in NYC.
The booking process is very specific too: you can only book a same-night reservation from 3:00pm through 5:00am the following morning, and check in can be completed immediately upon booking. You can also add one extra night to your booking upon reservation for a total of two nights. Once you select a hotel, the app will offer advice on what to do during your style for each hour of the day. You can’t help but want to be one of the cool kids and follow it, too. This app is free to download.
HotelQuickly has a strong focus in Asia, so anyone traveling to this side of the world can find hotel rooms in 16 Asia-Pacific countries and over 250 destinations. The app is very user-friendly, offering a lot of useful information for the customer: quick, important facts about each hotel in the ‘need to know’ section, like check out times and what you’ll need to provide at check in as well as sections on ‘things to do nearby,’ icons explaining the hotel features and reviews. You can also give friends a 5% discount on their bookings and earn credit towards your own.
The HotelQuickly loyalty system also has tiers, meaning after you book five times in one year you’ll be a silver member and get a 4% discount. Once you complete seven bookings within a year, you’ll hit gold status for a 6% discount. The final tier is platinum, earned after ten bookings, giving you an 8% discount. The app is useful for both planners and last-travelers, as you can book a room a year in advance or up until 4:00am the night of. This app is free to download.
Booking.com is one of the most popular websites for booking hotels and the app is just as useful. Besides being able to book accommodation on the app, you can also see all of the reservations you’ve made on the website as well as access all of your booking confirmations when offline (and the address of hotels in the local language, which can be extremely helpful when showing a taxi driver your address in China). With over 1,600,000 properties worldwide, the Booking.com app can be especially useful when traveling to more obscure destinations. When reserving, you can easily see which rates have free cancellation; there are many properties available that have free cancellation up until the day before, or cheaper rates if you prepay.
Most properties have several reviews, and it’s easy to see the pros and cons of each property from previous guests, which can help you to make a more educated choice on selecting your hotel. The genius loyalty program gives members 10% discounts at many properties around the world, as well as perks like welcome drinks, free airport transportation and late check out. You can always count on the customer service for help, as it’s available worldwide if you run into any issues while traveling. This app is free to download.
Jetsetter works along with TripAdvisor, meaning as you search for hotels, you can see the TripAdvisor rating next to them. JetSetter prides itself on being in the know with special tabs like “what we love,” focusing on the cool features of the hotel, such as floor-to-ceiling windows in all guest rooms or the trendy rooftop bar. The “what to know” section provides useful info, like there’s a private elevator that goes straight up to aforementioned trendy rooftop bar from the ground level. The descriptions are extremely thorough, with sections about the hotel’s history and location and what else you can see and do in the area.
Jetsetter even calculates the distance from the airport to the property within their map feature. Each hotel has a number of photos so you can really get a visual feel for what each property is like. The app is perfect for those who really want to explore the hotel before booking or staying there. For those needing some travel inspiration, it also has a magazine feature with articles on things like Jetsetter favorite hotels, where to eat, drink and shop in specific cities, must-see destinations and attractions, travel tips and more. This app is free to download.
Download for iTunes.
Feature photo by @kawamura via Twenty20
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