In late 2015, Priceline held discussions with Hotel Tonight about possibly buying the smaller hotel-booking rival. Executives at Priceline liked the startup’s young, affluent user base and boutique hotel selection. But Hotel Tonight was on pace to lose $37 million that year on revenue of just $33 million. Priceline executives didn’t believe Hotel Tonight could better keep costs in check while rapidly growing its customer base.
“After looking at the numbers, [Priceline] couldn’t see scalability at play,” says a person involved in the talks, which haven’t been previously reported.