Airbnb to purchase Hotel Tonight

Home-share giant Airbnb is now the proud owner of a hotel startup

HotelTonight's app helps people find last-minute hotel rooms by connecting them with vacancies in mostly urban areas.

Since Airbnb gears up for its huge leap to the public markets, it is expanding its lodging platform to add more than simply treehouses and unique houses.

Airbnb has announced an agreement to buy last-minute hotel booking service Hotel Tonight, as the firm moves beyond its roots as an accommodation-sharing platform.

Gradually, some of those rooms - particularly ones in boutique hotels - will also be offered by Airbnb.

Founded in 2008, Airbnb is slowly disrupting the hotel sector.

San Francisco-based Airbnb, an online lodging company, says the acquisition is part of its mission to create "an end-to-end travel platform that combines where you stay, what you do and how you get there, all in one place". The addition of HotelTonight expands Airbnb's reach into the hotel industry more than a year after starting Airbnb Plus as a hotel-like service that lets travelers book properties that are verified to meet higher standards of cleanliness, comfort, design and hospitality.

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Commenting on the agreed acquisition, Sam Shank, CEO and co-founder of HotelTonight, said: "We started HotelTonight because we knew people wanted a better way to book an fantastic hotel room on-demand, and we are excited to join forces with Airbnb to bring this service to guests around the world".

"Welcoming more boutique hotels to our platform will help us deliver on our commitment to make Airbnb for everyone, providing guests the authentic, local experience they have come to expect on every trip", wrote Airbnb in a press release. In total, the startup has raised $131 million in venture capital funding from Accel and Battery Ventures, which have participated in almost every funding round for HotelTonight.

"Boutique hotels are helping to bring new guests to Airbnb and making our community larger and stronger", Airbnb's statement reads.

The Journal previously reported that Airbnb was exploring the acquisition but also considering masterminding its own direct competitor to the hotel booking service.

Airbnb is kicking off 2019 with an acquisitive streak. The company again declined to pinpoint the price, though given Gaest had raised just $3.5 million in equity funding, the deal pales in comparison to Airbnb's HotelTonight acquisition.

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