New online hotel room retailer Room77 plans to be able to offer customers the chance to choose their specific room, from among a selection of five million worldwide, just as fliers can choose their airline seat.
Rather than recommend just a hotel, the new site and corresponding iPhone app allow users to enter criteria and see recommendations for individual rooms within a hotel.
This allows users to decide what floor they want, whether they would like an adjoining room and even what size bed they like. Room77 has also used Google Earth Technology to give users a virtual view out of any window of their listed hotel rooms.
Kevin Fliess, general manager and vice president of product for Room77, said: “Our number one priority is to go for maximum depth and breadth of coverage.
“So our goal is to have every 3 to 5 star hotel world-wide in our database and every room in that collection of properties. We think there are about 25,000 hotels world-wide that fall into that category and that would equate to nearly 5 million rooms.”
Currently, Room77 has collected and indexed data from more than 425,000 rooms in 2,500 properties. Fliess said that number was growing fast as more hotels sign up to join the Room77 database.
When the site went live on February 24, Fliess said it had an average of one hotel per minute requesting to join. Along with signing up more hotels, Room 77 is working to improve the customer experience.
Fliess said “We want to be able to close the loop for consumers so when they see rooms they like, we think they should be able to request them and have the peace of mind to know they are going to get one of those rooms.
“One of the things we will be working on with our hotel partners in the coming months is something that we call room request guarantee. It is sort of the hotel equivalent of the airline pick your seat model.”
This would allow Room 77 and the hotels it represents to charge slightly more for the ability to book certain rooms that may be more desirable for consumers.
The company already has a feature on its iPhone app that advises customers to either accept or reject a suggested room. The user simply enters the room number and the app uses the customer’s preferences to assess the suitability of that room.
This has already attracted the attention of 25 London hotels. “We have some hotels that have really gone the extra mile in terms of really taking the time to augment their content and submit interior photography,” Fliess said.
“They are working with us to jointly explore room request guarantees. The hotels that embrace this for what it is are a really powerful consumer tool and this has been a really great opportunity for them.”