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Sam Shank ’04 MBA

Co-Founder and former CEO Sam Shank is making the world a more spontaneous place one spur-of-the-moment hotel booking at a time.
For Sam Shank, attending Kellogg as a Full-Time MBA student gave him the chance to gain some perspective on where he wanted to take his career.

“I really enjoyed taking two years to invest in myself, to study business and step back. It gave me the space to also think about what was next. And that's when I decided to start my own company and to focus on the travel category,” Sam reflected.

Sam’s company HotelTonight — which he co-founded and formerly served as CEO — has truly disrupted the hospitality industry. The mobile app was the first of its kind to offer same-day hotel booking, creating spontaneity for millions of people and helping hotel partners fill up rooms that would have otherwise gone empty.

One of the major lessons Sam took from his time at Kellogg was how hard it can be to build a great business unless you put yourself in the shoes of who's using it, whether it's the hotel partner or the customer who’s booking a hotel room. According to Sam, “All of the learning I had at Kellogg about understanding the customer, about really going deep into the needs of the customer, was vital to then bring that to life at HotelTonight.”
About Sam

Co-Founder and former CEO, HotelTonight

Head of commercial team, Airbnb

Kellogg Leaders: Sam Shank ’04 MBA, Co-founder and former CEO of HotelTonight

Technology and entrepreneurship are a blank slate of opportunities. But for Sam Shank, it was his time at Kellogg that helped him succeed by combining hard business skills with empathy for customers and employees.