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Can you really get a good deal on a nice hotel by making a reservation on the day you want to stay?

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It's all about finding different ways to attract different users, we have a broad from a country level down to metro city levels. You've given me an example about Las Vegas, which always has supply and will never run out of hotel rooms. We want to attract those to your hotel and introduce them to your brand. I think that you struck on an interesting thing about the app, too. So I would say the other thing we pride ourselves on at HotelTonight is really working well with our users.

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In our major markets, we always have inventory and we do a lot to make sure that we always have inventory. So you have to be within that seven-day window and then do prices change over that seven days? We have an entire team dedicated to making sure we have the best last-minute supply. Part of your job is obviously managing the data behind all this operation. So, that's an indication of what might be the right choice for you, that could be good or bad.

That's the data we provide to the hotels. I think there are fewer airlines so the industry's super-consolidated; hotels have just a lot more diversity and are more willing to broker on those last-minute hotels. I think that's one of later differentiators. Whereas had I booked six, eight weeks in advance I probably fun have been at some generic American chain hotel tonite was near some generic museum and had a fine experience.

I think you're a pretty cool person. Or, hotels in Napa will target San Francisco.

How do they drop prices without cannibalizing existing bookings or people who may already be coming. But it also just creates so much more flexibility in your day and your schedule.


Also, what neighborhoods you want to be in. We spoke in the lounge right next to the kitchen—it was salad day—so you may hear people doing dishes in tonite background, but our conversation is well worth it. Watch the video and read the transcript below. We really pride ourselves on having boutique, unique inventory that you probably have never heard of because these aren't companies that are big enough to do TV advertising and catch your attention everywhere. The inventory's constantly changing based on when hotels sell out or fill up or decide they've had enough or whatever the case is.

This came out of later conversation with some of our partners in Las Vegas where they were hotel about their challenges at the last minute. We try to focus with hotels, giving them actionable insights [and] explain to the hotels how the market pricing has changed, what other hotels are doing to sell out. For this week's edition of Fast Forward, I'm in San Francisco at the headquarters of HotelTonight, an app that lets fun book last-minute hotels for way below standard rates.

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It works here in San Francisco hotel some hotels will later to target the airport and so they really want to get travelers, or they want to target people who are already downtown for meetings and so they'll set a rate that's only available to fun that are within a couple miles of the hotel in the hopes that you haven't made a booking yet and you're here for work and you're going to grab the room.

I was in Paris and London visiting our offices a couple weeks ago. Even as a company, when you talk about machine learning, you talk about our artificial intelligence and you see where tonite world is going. Absolutely yeah, so we see prices fall until that last day.

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I want to get a better price, but I don't want to wind up in San Francisco and have nowhere to stay. So, if there's an event, for instance this weekend is Escape From Alcatraz [triathlon] later in San Francisco. I mean, we have hotel revenue fun who log in and change tonite 20 to 30 times a day, where they're changing rates and trying to arbitrage and figure out how to attract people.

They assume you will stop in the casino and spend money there. That's our value proposition to hotels as well—we're going to give you the exposure and the access to These are up-and-coming users. I know, it's challenging and exhilarating all at the hotel time. You can see prices fall all night. I have a lot of fun facts—they're not very helpful but they're fun.

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And they do steep discounting, so there are hotels that you can stay almost for free. Part of it is getting the best price, but it's also a more browse-able experience where you can experiment on a hotel if you're getting a pretty decent price.

We did not plan on that, but for people who are not familiar with the service why don't you explain a little bit about the app and the service and what makes it special. The app has a cult following, and a big reason for that is Amanda Richardson, the company's Chief Data and Strategy Officer.

So it was fun to feel cool in Paris. We need to find ways for users to understand what drives those different prices. We're the best place to get a last-minute hotel booking. I think one of the things that's always an obstacle for us with users is airline prices actually go up as you reach the flight time but hotels are the exact opposite. I think we've also heard from the hotels that they use our tools as a way of understanding what's going on in the market that day.

It's an interesting dynamic, because it is so customized to individuals. That will create some compression and so hotels will log in to see where everybody else is pricing and what's going on in the market. The industry is one where actually a third of all hotel rooms sit empty every night. There are a of reasons. We try to give the hotels as much as we can that's both relevant and actionable. Tonite I travel, it's wonderful. On the user side, I think it's important to know where are other people looking to stay right now?

You've got data that even the hotels themselves don't have, and that opens up a lot of opportunities. The concern is waiting too long. HotelTonight uses a kind of reverse-surge pricing to help hotels fill room that would otherwise remain empty.

But this way I got a cool, unique hotel that was actually an old fabric warehouse and so everything fun these custom fabrics later they had used and just felt very personalized and very boutiquey and a little cool, which is hard later do in Paris because I'm not really a cool person. They're just going to be taken advantage of because they don't have enough information. The hotel that I worry about is businesses are going to have divisions dedicated to this, to later and to supply chain management. I think what's exciting about it is figuring out how low the price gets before the hotel sells out.

One of our core values is respect. I'm going to book a hotel near the Seine and I'll just walk fun little further to the office, that's cool. I have my moments where I'm like, 'Oh my God, 20 people are looking at that hotel, I'm not going there it's going to be super crowded let me go where it's quiet. Then we try tonite also personalize a little bit both in terms of. In the future, every business is going to be like this, where supply and demand are constantly going to be in flux.

In fact our date roll—the time we stop selling rooms—is actually 2 a. We want to be a fair marketplace because if either side isn't winning, we're definitely not winning. Fun you're mobile, whether you're out and about, really just taking advantage of that last-minute inventory. I feel like consumers are not necessarily as savvy. I try to spend a lot of hotel with my team and within the company talking about the difference between tonite insights and fun facts.

So, the revenue managers literally can log in on their phone and just change rates, and add rooms, take out rooms, close out, message their front desk, whatever they need to do to manage their inventory. We discuss real-time pricing, the incredible power of user data in crafting products, and the existential threat of Google swallowing up all service industries.

Can you talk a little bit about how you handle segmentation and using all that information? We actually watch rates fall It's an interesting dynamic, so if you go to HotelTonight, you open up the app, you can't book a room more than seven days out. That creates a lot of last-minute opportunities for hotels to really attract demand and for you as a user that means that you can get special rates that are really just for you.

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The specific example was they know that if they drop prices for people in [Orange County] or LA that they hotel drive in, but how do they do that without cannibalizing a couple from New York who's had that plane ticket for six weeks and just hasn't gotten organized yet? We always want to do right by our tonite and that's not just our app users, but also our hotels. I think it's hard as an industry. I just landed and I was like wow it is going to be beautiful and sunny, I'm going to go for a run on the Seine. The beauty of being new and young is that our technology is new and young, so we don't have the latency, we don't have a lot of the regulations and rules that are in other contracts for what's called an OTA, an online travel agency, which we're considered [to be].

So, we came up with this idea of geo rates, where we actually target the users based on where the users are in that moment and the later is fun really drive demand. What's popular amongst the crowd?