Lunar New Year

Five free apps for booking a last-minute Lunar New Year escape

With fuel surcharges for flights from Hong Kong to be dropped from February 1, booking a last-minute getaway is more tempting than ever. Use these apps to bag a great late deal at Lunar New Year

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 21 January, 2016, 10:17am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 26 January, 2016, 4:23pm

If the Lunar New Year has crept up on you and you’re worried you’ve left trip planning too late, fear not: there is a wealth of apps out there catering to those on the lookout for a last-minute escape.

“The generation of millennials uses mobile phones for everything,” says Raphael Cohen, co-founder and CSO of HotelQuickly. “When planning and booking trips, they want to be able to do it from their mobile phone, quickly.”

Data from the last-minute accommodation-reservation app shows about 70 per cent of hotel bookings made on mobile phones are to check in within 24 hours.

Debby Soo, vice-president of Kayak, says top Lunar New Year destinations from Hong Kong include Kuala Lumpur, Bangkok, Cebu, Kaohsiung and Singapore. “Chinese New Year is always one of the most anticipated times of the year for people in Hong Kong,” she adds. Taiwan and Macau are hot spots with HotelQuickly’s Hong Kong clientele.

Cohen advising planning a departure and arrival one to two days out of peak period to make great savings. And with the recent announcement of fuel surcharges being dropped from February 1, meaning cheaper flights for travellers from Hong Kong, what better time to start planning your money-off getaway?

Jetsetter (iOS)

If leaving things until the eleventh hour doesn’t have you breaking into a sweat, then Jetsetter is the app for you. With parent company TripAdvisor and partner Secret Escapes having access to some of the world’s top hotels, holidays and curated trips, the options to choose from are seemingly endless. Offering customers up to 60 per cent off as well as hotel market rates, Jetsetter hosts limited-time flash sales that last five to 14 days, or until sold out. This makes it well worth your while holding off booking a holiday right until the last minute. The app comes complete with insiders’ tips, reviews and photos of destinations and venues.

Travelzoo (iOS& Android)

Whether it’s an all-inclusive break or discounted tickets for an event at your desired destination, Travelzoo has got it covered. Deals can be found on thousands of resorts, restaurants, spas, activities and shows, with discounts of up to 65 per cent secured by booking through the app. Daily, Local Deal vouchers, which are mapped to your destination, are delivered to subscribers’ phones, which save wasting time trawling through tonnes of information while away. Every Wednesday, the Travelzoo Top 20 list of the week’s top deals is updated inside the app – a great source for last-minute bargains, but be warned, they sell out quickly.

HotelQuickly (iOS& Android)

The hunt for a last-minute hotel at bucket prices is made much easier with HotelQuickly’s mobile hotel booking app. The Hong Kong-born app gives users the chance to snag themselves the best available three- to five-star hotels in more than 200 destinations across the Asia Pacific region, fast and hassle-free. Rates clinched through the app are on average 28 per cent cheaper than other online booking options. Each day, partner hotels upload unsold rooms to HotelQuickly, leaving a wealth of varied vacations waiting to be bought at rock bottom prices. Users can also enjoy a free night at a hotel of choice by recommending a friend.

Last Minute Travel (iOS& Android)

The clue is in the title, and this app is a definite must for download if you’re looking for bargain basement, all-in-one holiday packages. LMT offers last-minute flights from more than 175 carriers across the world, as well as more than 100,000 hotels, 20,000 holiday homes, 10,000 activities and transfers in more than 150 countries. The company also offers hotel, flight and car rental packages at low prices. With an overwhelming number of options, useful sorting tools enable users to narrow down searches, such as flight price, stops and length of journey. A deal section can lead to even more savings.

Booking Now (iOS& Android)

It seems fitting that hotel booking giant should have its own app to allow spur-of-the-moment travellers to find hotel deals and book with a single click, wherever they are in the world. While it waited on the sidelines to see how smaller, niche businesses went, one year ago Booking Now launched, boasting a network of more than 585,000 hotels globally and serving up last-minute destination deals on a mass scale. Users enter their name, phone number and email address, travel options, such as room rates, and preferred amenities and the app presents a map of nearby hotels, ranked according to your preferences.