Airbnb Signs Agreement to Acquire HotelTonight

NATIONAL REPORT—Airbnb has signed an agreement to acquire HotelTonight, a last-minute hotel-booking service.

The move comes after its launch of Airbnb Plus, further extending the home-sharing platform’s reach into the hotel industry. It aligns with its mission to reimagine travel by building an end-to-end travel platform that combines where you stay, what you do, and how you get there, all in one place. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

“Working with the incredible team at HotelTonight, we will offer guests an unparalleled last-minute travel experience that provides unique, memorable hospitality on every trip, on any schedule, at any time,” said Brian Chesky, Airbnb co-founder, CEO and head of community. “…Welcoming more boutique hotels to our platform will help us deliver on our commitment to make Airbnb for everyone, providing guests the authentic, local experience they have come to expect on every trip.”

Sam Shank, co-founder & CEO of HotelTonight, added, “We started HotelTonight because we knew people wanted a better way to book an amazing hotel room on demand, and we are excited to join forces with Airbnb to bring this service to guests around the world. Together, HotelTonight and Airbnb can give guests more choices and the world’s best boutique and independent hotels a genuine partner to connect them with those guests.”

Airbnb guests are booking three times as many nights with boutique hotels in 2018 compared with 2017, according to the company.

“Once these new guests come to Airbnb, they’re returning to book with our home hosts: In fact, nearly 90% of guests who first used Airbnb to book a hotel room and returned to our platform for a second trip then booked a home,” said Chesky.

The HotelTonight app and website will continue to operate. Once the acquisition is complete, Shank will report to Greg Greeley, Airbnb’s president of homes, and lead the company’s boutique hotel category.

Chip Rogers, president and CEO of the American Hotel & Lodging Association (AHLA),  issued the following statement in response to Airbnb’s acquisition of Hotel Tonight: “Airbnb’s latest scheme is just further proof the company is playing in the hotel space while evading industry regulations. It’s also likely a realization by Airbnb that their current business model is flawed with its reliance on income from illegal activity by commercial investors using their site.

“We’re not surprised by this move given major cities, including New York, Boston, Los Angeles and Washington, DC, just passed strong short-term rental laws last year to rein in Airbnb,” he continued. “Not to mention they are facing an outcry from a broad-based coalition of residents, affordable housing, labor and community leaders about their negative impact on housing and neighborhoods across the country. This move is likely a knee-jerk reaction to offset their financial losses when these regulations take effect this year and in anticipation of other major cities likely to pass similar laws. If Airbnb wants to enter the hotel business, then it needs to do so on a level playing field and be regulated, taxed and subject to the same safety compliances and oversight that law-abiding hotel companies adhere to each and every day.”