Airbnb Gobbles Up Last-Minute Booking Service HotelTonight

Photo: Carl Court (Getty)

A little more than a month after the Wall Street Journal reported that Airbnb was in talks to buy HotelTonight, the two have sealed the deal on an acquisition.

Airbnb announced Thursday that it had gobbled up the last-minute bookings service as its latest step in building an end-to-end travel platform, a move that advances its in-house offerings on the hotel front (though it does already offer some hotel accommodations).

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The Journal previously reported that Airbnb was exploring the acquisition but also considering masterminding its own direct competitor to the hotel booking service. The idea, the Journal said, was to boost its offerings in order to position Airbnb as a more direct competitor to full-service booking outfits.

The company said as much in a press release about the acquisition, specifically highlighting the ability to find accommodations for its users when Airbnb homes in a given area are fully booked. But if there was any question of whether HotelTonight would fit the mold for Airbnb’s bespoke vibe and focus on experiences and community—an issue the Journal previously reported was a concern among Airbnb’s management—its co-founder and CEO Brian Chesky seems to think it will.

“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,” Chesky said in a statement this week. The service will focus specifically on independent and boutique hotels, HotelTonight co-founder and CEO Sam Shank said. The deal’s price tag wasn’t disclosed Thursday.

The initiative to expand its offerings comes as Airbnb is thought to be considering its initial public offering. Chesky has been notably coy about an IPO arriving in 2019. And citing sources familiar with the matter, the Journal reported Thursday that the IPO is more likely to come next year.

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In any event, maybe that’ll give it plenty of time to figure out whatever the hell is going on with those goddamn hidden cameras.

[Airbnb]

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