Industry Update
External Article11 September 2019

Why Airbnb Turned to HotelTonight for Its Data Savvy

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HotelTonight's acquisition by Airbnb last March represented a happy outcome, but it wasn't inevitable. Back in 2015, HotelTonight faced layoffs and fundraising hiccups. Here, co-founder and CEO Sam Shank shares some of the ways he got his company back on track.


Airbnb bought HotelTonight in March in a deal that boosted the travel giant's hotel listings. Airbnb didn't reveal how much it paid. But we reported that the company paid a little more than $400 million, with about half in cash and half in stock.

The transaction was a positive outcome for HotelTonight CEO Sam Shank, who co-founded the company in 2010. He is now head of Hotels and Serviced Apartments at Airbnb as well as CEO of HotelTonight.

HotelTonight got its start by helping people find last-minute hotel rates at upscale properties. It also helped hoteliers fill otherwise empty rooms with carefully targeted discounts. Over time, the company became a more flexible online travel agency. It expanded its booking window, added platforms, and debuted a digital concierge service.

Shank will appear on-stage at Skift Global Forum in New York City on September 19. As a prelude, we quizzed him on how his company has used data to thrive.

One surprising point: Shank doesn't believe data deserves all the hype it gets. "When making decisions, I always balance data with other inputs such as focus groups, market research, and industry trends," Shank said.

Read the full article at skift Inc.

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