What Airbnb’s Acquisition of HotelTonight Could Mean for Travelers

Mar 7, 2019

This post contains references to products from one or more of our advertisers. We may receive compensation when you click on links to those products. Terms apply to the offers listed on this page. For an explanation of our Advertising Policy, visit this page.

In a move that will expand its role in the travel space, Airbnb has inked an agreement to acquire the last-minute booking app, HotelTonight.

If HotelTonight’s most recent valuation of $465 million is accurate, it would be Airbnb’s largest acquisition to date, according to The New York Times.

In a statement, Airbnb CEO and co-founder, Brian Chesky, said the deal fits into Airbnb’s plan to build “an end-to-end travel platform” that accommodates all travelers, whether they “plan their trip a year or a day in advance.”

With the addition of HotelTonight’s inventory, which is focused on boutique and independent properties, Airbnb will continue its effort to diversify beyond vacation rentals — many of which can only be reserved following approval from owners, which can take time.

Last year, Airbnb more than doubled the number of hotels, bed and breakfasts, resorts and more traditional listings on its platform. The acquisition of HotelTonight signals a deeper investment in expanding its footprint in hotels.

According to internal Airbnb data, the average traveler is booking a trip more than 35 days in advance. But business travelers often have less lead time (closer to 20 days on average), suggesting that this strategic move may also echo Airbnb’s interest in luring more business travelers. In 2018, Airbnb reimagined its business travel community as Airbnb for Work, and more than doubled the number of companies that utilize Airbnb as an option for its employees.

HotelTonight’s inventory of more than 25,000 hotels may be insignificant when you consider that Airbnb’s listings exceed 6 million. But the purchase of HotelTonight could indicate that Airbnb is preparing to challenge the booking behemoths of Expedia Group (Hotels.com, Orbitz, Expedia) and Booking Holdings (Booking.com, Priceline and Kayak).

Both travel companies already have strong footholds in the alternate accommodation space. Expedia owns HomeAway, and Booking.com has long specialized in nontraditional listings ranging from campsites and igloos to guest houses and pensions.

Until then, however, Airbnb is clearly investing in the tools (and inventory) that will make it a more viable option for both last-minute and business travelers.

Feature photo courtesy of Airbnb. 

Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

WELCOME OFFER: 80,000 Points


CARD HIGHLIGHTS: 2X points on all travel and dining, points transferrable to over a dozen travel partners

*Bonus value is an estimated value calculated by TPG and not the card issuer. View our latest valuations here.

Apply Now
More Things to Know
  • Earn 80,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $1,000 when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®. Plus earn up to $50 in statement credits towards grocery store purchases within your first year of account opening.
  • Earn 2X points on dining including eligible delivery services, takeout and dining out and travel. Plus, earn 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases.
  • Get 25% more value when you redeem for airfare, hotels, car rentals and cruises through Chase Ultimate Rewards®. For example, 80,000 points are worth $1,000 toward travel.
  • With Pay Yourself Back℠, your points are worth 25% more during the current offer when you redeem them for statement credits against existing purchases in select, rotating categories.
  • Get unlimited deliveries with a $0 delivery fee and reduced service fees on eligible orders over $12 for a minimum of one year with DashPass, DoorDash's subscription service. Activate by 12/31/21.
  • Count on Trip Cancellation/Interruption Insurance, Auto Rental Collision Damage Waiver, Lost Luggage Insurance and more.
  • Get up to $60 back on an eligible Peloton Digital or All-Access Membership through 12/31/2021, and get full access to their workout library through the Peloton app, including cardio, running, strength, yoga, and more. Take classes using a phone, tablet, or TV. No fitness equipment is required.
Regular APR
15.99%-22.99% Variable
Annual Fee
Balance Transfer Fee
Either $5 or 5% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater.
Recommended Credit

Editorial Disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

Disclaimer: The responses below are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser’s responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.