When the end of the week approaches, is a last-minute weekend getaway the first thing on your mind? Just CheckInTonight, say the Phnom Penh-based makers of the smartphone app for hotel-booking that can slash prices in half.
Hotelier and techie Mark Southby, who came to Cambodia as a consultant for Beeline before running three boutique hotels in the capital, has created an app tailored for the impulsive traveller in Southeast Asia.
The idea behind CheckInTonight is to allow hotels to sell vacant rooms at discounted rates either on the day of arrival or the day before.
Released in February, the app has scored tens of thousands of downloads throughout the region.
“CheckInTonight is last-minute, just for [bookings] today or tomorrow,” says Southby, who adds that his service sometimes slashes price tags by 70 per cent.
“Our prices are always competitive because hotel rooms will perish at midnight, so hoteliers are keen to sell this distressed inventory - and we provide a marketplace for that.”
The service works by enlisting hotel partners who submit daily deals to the company.
At 11am each day, CheckInTonight takes the three best deals from each market and advertises them.
Southby says limiting the listings to three hotels a day puts further downward pressure on room rates.
“By featuring only three, we’ve created a competitive circle among the hotels we’ve worked with,” says Southby, who says he has about 20 hotel partners in each market.
Southby says the company has increased demand for last-minute bookings, particularly from Bangkok-based expats interested in “staycat-ions” at luxury hotels or short trips to the beach.
“We’re also seeing demand for the impulse bookings - people who act-ually don’t need a hotel for tonight or tomorrow but are motivated to book the hotel based on the deal.
“Rather than having to scroll through hundreds of hotels, our users are looking for a room sometimes within hours and don’t want to scroll through so many to make the selection.”
The app allows users to book for up to four nights, depending on availability.
CheckInTonight covers Cambodia, Thailand, Vietnam, Malaysia, Indonesia, Singapore and Hong Kong.
The app, which has been downloaded more than 24,000 times, joins the ranks of Cambodia’s thriving app industry.
It includes Golden Gekko, founded in 2005, whose clients include Volkswagen, Vodafone and Absolut Vodka.