Airbnb -- a company founded on the concept of people renting out their homes -- is moving headlong into the hotel business.
On Thursday, the San Francisco-based company said it signed an agreement to acquire the hotel booking app HotelTonight, a deal that would be Airbnb's biggest yet. Financial details of the deal weren't disclosed.
Airbnb has gone from being a website for couch surfers to having a massive online presence in just under a decade. It lists roughly 6 million homes for rent in more than 80,000 cities worldwide. The company, currently privately held, is valued at $31 billion.
Airbnb is reportedly planning an initial public offering sometime this year. But after years of regulatory battles with cities including New York, New Orleans and Paris, the company needs to show investors it can grow.
The company has progressively moved into the hotel business over the past couple of years, at first quietly adding boutique hotels to its listings. Last year it announced day trip booking and restaurant reservations. Airbnb has also partnered with major landlords in California and Florida to allow for Airbnb rentals through their buildings.it offers on its site. To round itself out as full travel company, it's added additional features such as
"We are reimagining 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," the company said in a statement Thursday.
HotelTonight is a popular booking app that let's people get last-minute hotel deals. The privately-held company focuses on boutique and independent hotels. It's valued at more than $450 million, according to Bloomberg.
Airbnb said acquiring HotelTonight would make it easier for people to find places to stay at the last minute. It's also seen demand for boutique hotels among its users and is hoping to create more offerings for them.
Airbnb has acquired or made an investment in a handful of other hospitality companies, including the upscale vacation rental companyand restaurant reservation startup Resy.