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Last-Minute hotel booking app HotelTonight partners with Chelsea Football Club

Chelsea FC has announced a partnership with last-minute booking app Hotel Tonight for fans attending home matches.

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Last-minute hotel booking app HotelTonight announced Friday a partnership with Chelsea F.C.  that will allow fans in attendance at Stamford Bridge the chance to take advantage of unique match-day hotel booking deals.

The sponsorship deal is Chelsea’s first with a mobile app and will enable anyone attending a home match access to HotelTonight’s extra-discounted GeoRates, specifically for fans at Stamford Bridge. Mobile app users in attendance at the club’s Fulham-based stadium beginning Feb. 4 with the match against Arsenal will be able to use smartphones to book hotel rooms for exclusive location-based discounted rates during and after the match. These GeoRates will also be available at other English Premier League stadiums for Chelsea fans at away matches, which is hardly insignificant since traveling with the team is a tradition.

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“HotelTonight offers special GeoRates to people in airports and train stations, but this is the first time it has been rolled out in sports,” chief marketing officer Ray Elias said.

“Sports fans are one of the key groups who have made last-minute travel a mainstream phenomenon globally. And when I say mainstream, nearly half of U.S. domestic hotel bookings are made within three days of arrival, and half of EU hotel bookings are within seven days of arrival.”

HotelTonight’s discounted hotel room rates are available on its iOS, Android, Windows mobile app and the company’s mobile website. The San Francisco-based tech firm works directly with hotels to find unsold rooms in 1,700 cities around the world. These rooms are then discounted and sorted into categories such as Hip, Charming, Solid and Luxe. Booking a room takes just “three clicks and a swipe.”

HotelTonight launched in early 2011. At the time the company focused completely on day-of business, only offering its hotel booking services within a 24-hour window. Since then, HotelTonight expanded its business to seven days out.

HotelTonight advertisements will appear inside Stamford Bridge, and Chelsea players will soon be featured in social media and other marketing campaigns. Another will see the company give out seven free hotel rooms to fans in attendance if Chelsea scores a goal in the last seven minutes of a match.

The last-minute travel industry is growing. In the United States, 44 percent of people book rooms within HotelTonight’s seven-day window. And 72 percent of mobile hotel bookings are made within 24 hours.

On top of these travel trends, Chelsea supporter statistics make HotelTonight’s interest in the West London club seem obvious. According to Chelsea officials, the club has a global fan base of roughly 509 million. Aside from the club being one of the most recognizable soccer brands in the world, many Chelsea fans live a long way from Stamford Bridge. The average fan lives 60 miles away from the stadium, and only 43 percent of fans live in London.