Booking an 11th Hour Hotel Room

There are many apps that help travelers plan their trips, from finding attractions and fine dining to booking flights and hotel rooms. The accepted wisdom is that by booking early, you can get the best rates. But what if you are in a pinch and need a room, today? And isn’t it true that hotels are often happy to make last-minute reservations at discounted rates? Better to do that than lose money on an empty room, right? Well, as they say, there’s an app for that. Or perhaps two or three.

Priceline. Perhaps the best known website for travelers looking to make a deal is Priceline. The site has made a name for itself by allowing travelers to make a bid for unsold rooms, but recent updates to the site allow purchases without bidding as well. Priceline has an app too, which provides a mobile way to not only book rooms, but rental cars and flights. The app also includes last minute and same-day reservation capabilities. An update posted on February 6 helps those looking for a hotel at the very last minute; now travelers looking after midnight can still book a room at their current location up to 5 a.m. eastern time.

Hotel Tonight. Perhaps the name says it all; this app does one thing and (according to a lot of the positive buzz) does it well. The makers of this app pride themselves on offering some of the best deals at the last minute, offering discounts of as much as 70 percent. It has signed up hotel partners across the country (including the Twin Cities), as well as in Mexico, Canada, and Europe. Simply check for what’s available, learn about amenities, receive an offer, and book the room—all without leaving the app. The website, and the smartphone app, offers travelers deals at more than 150,000 hotels around the world. They promise a price match guarantee as well as no cancellation or change fees. You can also start an account, allowing you to access reservations even when you are offline, or simply purchase hotels as a guest user. This app also promotes itself as the go-to app when you are in need of a last-minute room, offering deals nearby wherever you may be traveling. Probably this app’s biggest claim to fame is its pitch about how quickly and easily you can book a room, as this clever promo video attests: