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Same-day booking app HotelTonight predicts the future too

With a new feature called "Look Ahead," the 3-year-old app gives the more cautious traveler confidence to book on a whim.


When the mood strikes or the unforeseeable happens, iOS and Android travel app HotelTonight can save the day with same-night stays at reduced prices in 300 different cities. Starting Tuesday, the app can also come in handy for us less adventurous, more predictable types.

HotelTonight for iPhone is updating with Look Ahead, a feature that forecasts same-day hotel rates up to seven days in advance in major US markets including New York, Los Angeles, and San Francisco.

Look Ahead is designed for people who aren't ready to throw caution to the wind when it comes to their travel plans, CEO Sam Shank told CNET. "We can give people that sense that there's going to be something for them when they're ready to be spontaneous."

Look Ahead predicts same-night hotel rates up to seven days in the future. HotelTonight

Launched in January of 2011, HotelTonight travels in the discounted booking circle where the likes of Priceline, Orbitz, Expedia, and Travelocity compete to give patrons the best online deals around. The startup's initial claim to fame was its unconventional approach of offering up same-night reservations, until 2 a.m. local time, to consumers on smartphones, but competitors like Priceline have since copied the formula.

Three years and 9.5 million downloads later, HotelTonight has reconfigured its last-minute booking data into an external-facing prediction engine to provide consumers with foresight for the week ahead. Look Ahead is a product of internal tools that the company built to keep an eye on supply and demand, Shank said.

"Now we've gotten to a point where we're confident enough in those predictions where we can give people that level of guidance and insight," he said.

Look Ahead considers major events and conferences when forecasting rates and will inform users of estimated discounts and starting rates for their destination.

The feature is available in New York, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Miami, Washington, D.C., Chicago, San Francisco, San Diego, and Dallas through the HotelTonight for iPhone application. It will be released on iPad and Android at a later date.