Sat, Mar 09, 2019 - Page 10 News List

Airbnb buys hotel app to broaden its travel offerings

AFP, SAN FRANCISCO

Airbnb Inc on Thursday said it was acquiring the last-minute lodging application HotelTonight, giving the home-sharing giant a broader range of offerings as a travel platform.

Terms of the deal for HotelTonight, a mobile application which connects users to hotels for last-minute bookings, were not disclosed.

The deal “accelerates our work to build an end-to-end travel platform that serves everyone,” Airbnb said in a statement.

The move comes with Airbnb, one of the largest “sharing economy” start-ups with a valuation at about US$30 billion, set to launch a stock listing as soon as this year.

HotelTonight’s private valuation was estimated at more than US$400 million after several funding rounds.

Airbnb’s main business is sharing of individually owned properties but it has recently allowed bookings in boutique hotels, bed and breakfasts, and other kinds of accommodations, and the acquisition accelerates that trend.

“Together with HotelTonight, we can offer places to stay for every type of traveler on all kinds of trips and make it easier for small businesses and hoteliers who take pride in providing authentic, unique experiences to tap into Airbnb’s truly global network of hosts and guests,” the San Francisco-based Airbnb said.

Airbnb has grown from its beginnings in 2008 to become a global giant with about five million listings in 191 countries, but has also faced criticism for alleged unfair competition and for avoiding hospitality taxes.

In one example, Paris city authorities last month sought a fine of 12.5 million euros (US$14 million) against Airbnb for 1,000 properties without proper registration.

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