A few years ago, I stayed in a really raunchy Days Inn in Ogden, Utah. (I was there for a conference, get off my back.) I stayed there for one night and I didn’t sleep at all because I was about 99.5% sure that the creepy guy at the front desk was going to climb down through the warped acoustic ceiling tiles and murder me in my sleep, or sell me off in some human trafficking ring. At the very least, there had to have been some hidden cameras placed strategically throughout the room. If I had seen pictures of the room beforehand, I never would’ve booked it. But…hindsight and all that jazz.
Now, same-day hotel booking service HotelTonight is doing its part to make sure you never stay in a skeeze-shack hotel—or at the very least, that the hotel room you book is the one you get. The company unveiled its new Snap Your Stay feature Wednesday to revolutionize the hotel review.
Here’s another gross hotel story: the first time I ever stayed in Manhattan, I stayed at the YMCA because the rooms were supposedly clean and cheap. There were great reviews about how well maintained the rooms were. I got there—and there was a booger on the wall. No joke, an honest to God booger. Now I can write a review saying there was a booger on the wall, but a picture of a booger on the wall is so much more powerful.
To be clear, HotelTonight vets all of the hotels displayed on its app, so you’re probably not going to get a nasty ass hotel with boogers on the walls, but the Snap Your Stay feature gives users a better idea of what they’re getting.
Users who opt to take photos of their rooms for Snap Your Stay are prompted to complete a set of photos of the hotel bed, lobby, bathroom, view, exterior, and a cool find of their own. Snap Your Stay also comes with filters and editing tools so you can produce some pretty swanky pics. For hotels, this works out to be an easy marketing channel.
"It's clear that people are excited about sharing information to help other travelers make informed decisions about where to stay, as demonstrated by the popularity of travel review channels," said CEO Sam Shank in an email. "We already see about one-third of all HotelTonight bookers review their hotel after a booking via the thumbs up/down rating, and expect a similar or greater response rate since this new feature is just as easy and fun."
To celebrate the launch of Snap Your Stay, HotelTonight is giving away $5 for each completed photo set and $10 for those that make the Photos tab. Top Snap Your Stay photo sets will be published as a digital coffee table book.
In addition to the launch of Snap Your Stay, HotelTonight is also launching its new price guarantee. Now, if you can find same-day hotel rates that beat HotelTonight’s rates, HT will offer you HT credits to make up the difference in price.
"All you have to do is submit a claim to our Customer Support team, and we'll get back to you within 15 minutes. Prices for same-day hotel rooms often change, so we guarantee our rates to give you peace of mind to book now and move on to enjoying your hotel," said Shank.
Launched in 2011, HotelTonight has seen over five million downloads to date and works with over 2,500 hotel partners across nearly 100 destinations worldwide.