If you just have to book a hotel room tonight and you want to do it online or using a mobile app, there is good news -- you can probably do it in most cases unless you are trying to secure a King bed in Fort Lauderdale on Spring break or a suite at another popular beach destination on July 4th weekend.

And, the ability to do so is true even for some destinations such as Wichita, Kan., which don't usually head lists of vacation hotspots. (No offense, Wichita.)

And, if you are looking to book a room tonight, you don't have to rely on opaque sellers of travel such as Priceline's Name Your Own Price service or Hotwire, where you don't find out the name of the property up-front.

Nor do you have to rely on apps -- such as Hotel Tonight or Priceline's Tonight-Only Deals -- which specialize on tonight-only bookings in major markets and leave locales such as Hackensack, N.J. and Corpus Christi, Texas, untouched and ignored.

In the late morning and early afternoon of March 10, I set out to examine whether I could find available hotels in Wichita and Orlando, Fla., to book for that evening using the Orbitz mobile app (Android), the Kayak Mobile app (iPhone),, and

And, I found (with one caveat) available hotels for that night in both cities using the five hotel-booking tools.

The Orbitz Android app listed several pages of available hotels in Orlando and I could sort them by neighborhood, best value and lowest price. And, filtering by best value, I indeed found a queen room at the Town Place Suites by Marriott Orlando East for a total price of $122.74.

And, that was about a $25 savings for that night compared with the same property as shown a couple of hours earlier on However, the Expedia website only displayed a one-bedroom suite as being available at the Town Place Suites by Marriott Orlando East at a total cost of $157.25.

However, when it came to Wichita, the Orbitz app couldn't handle it -- or didn't show any Wichita hotels, to be more accurate. Instead, the Orbitz app suggested I visit and transferred me with one tap to the Orbitz mobile website, where 74 hotels in Wichita were listed as available.

Meanwhile, the Kayak iPhone app displayed 80 results for Wichita hotels for that evening and I could book a deluxe room in the Marriott Wichita at a total rate of $112.67 -- the exact same rate as on

With Kayak mobile apps, you can book the room with Kayak instead of being transferred to an online travel agency or hotel website for booking as is the rule with other hotel metasearch apps such as Hipmunk's.

Like the others, displayed plenty of available hotels for that evening in Wichita and Orlando.

The total rate for the lowest priced room (king bed, refrigerator, breakfast) at the 2-star Best Western Governors Inn & Suites in Wichita on was a tad more pricey (at $81.74) than the room rate (king bed, free wireless and refrigerator) on sister websites and ($76.07).

It's also interesting -- and misleading -- to see the way some of these sites and apps deal with displays of numbers of hotels.

For example, at the top left of the first Orlando hotels page counted 308 hotels for that evening, but of 13 pages of hotel listings, two-and-a-half pages showed properties where "rooms are not available."

And, cited 503 Orlando hotels for that evening, but only at the very bottom of the page does it mention that 384 of them are not available for that night.

Still, with so many travelers these days using smartphones, tablets and laptops and by all accounts booking last-minute rooms more than ever, online travel and mobile-apps developers are indeed providing lots of hotel booking options.