If you've ever had a long layover, taken a one-day business trip, or spent a day channeling Don Draper, you’ll appreciate the value proposition of HotelsByDay, a new app that allows travelers to book hotel rooms without having to pay for the full night’s stay. Available free for Android and iOS, it’s the first app to offer “intra-day” reservations—that is, bookings between the hours of 10 a.m. and 8 p.m., after early check-out passengers have departed and before late check-in travelers arrive. It’s a great idea—founder Yannis Moati says roughly 34 percent of all 3- to 5-star hotel rooms go unoccupied during the day, and there are more than a handful of reasons why travelers would want to buy in.
So far, the app is available in five markets: New York, Chicago, Philadelphia, and Washington, D.C., though a few searches outside these parameters did yield results (an indication that the app will likely expand quickly). In New York, for instance, we found availability at an airport hotel ($140 for eight hours) and at the design-centric GEM hotel, in Midtown ($65 for an 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. reservation)—ideal options for that unexpected layover or mid-day meeting. In Miami, an as-yet unsupported market where we might want to freshen up between a flight and a cruise departure, a Renaissance hotel showed up for $95, conveniently located right next to the port. Clearly the HotelsByDay team has carefully thought through the demands of each market.
We’ll tip our hat to Moati and his team not just for launching a well designed, considered app, but for finding a way to innovate in a space where we’d thought we’d seen it all.
Nikki Ekstein is an Assistant Editor at Travel + Leisure and part of the Trip Doctor news team. Find her on Twitter at @nikkiekstein.