Airbnb to Buy HotelTonight to Expand Platform

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Airbnb to Buy HotelTonight to Expand Platform

In a statement to the Times, Airbnb CEO Brian Chesky said: "a big part of building an end-to-end travel platform is serving every guest, whether they plan their trip a year or a day in advance".

San Francisco-based HotelTonight has raised over $126 million from investors such as Accel, most recently closing a $37 million round in early 2017 at an estimated valuation of $463 million.

"Once these new guests come to Airbnb, they're returning to book with our home hosts: In fact, almost 90% of guests who first used Airbnb to book a hotel room and returned to our platform for a second trip then booked a home", said Chesky.

The HotelTonight app and website will continue to operate as usual, though listings will likely also be available through Airbnb's Plus portal. "Together, HotelTonight and Airbnb can give guests more choices and the world's best boutique and independent hotels a genuine partner to connect them with guests".

Moreover, HotelTonight's last private valuation nearly two years ago was north of $450 million. When the agreement is finished, the HotelTonight application and site will keep on working freely, with co-founder and CEO Sam Shank answering to Airbnb's leader of homes, Greg Greeley.

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Airbnb said it more than doubled the number of listings on its site for boutique hotel rooms, bed and breakfasts, hostels and resorts in 2018.

While HotelTonight sounds like the name of a nightly political chat show, its business model is actually exactly what you think it is: Last-minute hotel booking options. Early a year ago, it made changes to its site to make it easier for boutique hotels and bed-and-breakfasts to list their rooms.

"Buying a company like HotelTonight could accelerate the company's expansion, especially as it prepares for an IPO and as it faces short-term rental regulation battles around the world that threaten its core business", Skift said. It was valued at more than $30bn in financing rounds between 2016 and 2017.

The HotelTonight deal marks Airbnb's 20th acquisition and the second acquisition of 2019. Brian Chesky, the company's CEO, previously said it could go public in 2019, but according to a CNBC source, it has made a decision to push back the timing of the offering.

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