Hotel room database and search engine Room 77 launched yesterday as a public beta and free iPhone app. Targeting three-star and above properties, Room 77 has collected and indexed data on more than 425,000 hotel rooms in 2,500 properties. The company plans to grow that number exponentially with the help of travelers and hotels. In its debut, Room 77 has concentrated its content in Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, Denver, Honolulu, Las Vegas, London, Los Angeles, Maui, Miami, New York, Orlando, San Diego, San Francisco, Seattle, and Washington, D.C.
Room 77 provides travelers with specific details about each hotel room at a property, including the room category, square footage, bed type, elevator proximity, and if it is a connecting room. For each room, Room 77 also generates a virtual room view, simulating the actual view from that room’s window using patent-pending Google Earth-enabled technology.
Based on an individual’s preferences for high or low floor, distance from elevator, view importance, and need for connecting rooms, Room 77 automatically ranks the rooms using its proprietary algorithm. Each room is then scored with a color-coded match percentage indicating strong match (green), fair match (yellow), and weak match (red). These colors also correspond to an interactive floor plan map that highlights each room’s precise location within the hotel. Once preferred rooms are identified, Room 77 helps travelers turn this data into action through its request a room link. This section shares insider tips on how to request a room directly from the hotel and increase the probability of securing one.
“All hotel rooms are not created equal and we’ve built Room 77 to open up room data and give travelers more control in getting a great room. Travelers have several options that rate and review hotels, but until now there’s nothing that breaks down hotel rooms even though the room is a critical part of the experience,” Brad Gerstner, founder and chairman of Room 77, said in the announcement. “Our team has taken the first step to creatively collect and present this data and now we’re inviting the millions of travelers who check in and out of hotels every month to help in this effort.”
Prior to the site's launch, Kevin Fliess, general manager and product lead of Room 77 and co-founder of TravelMuse, said one of the benefits of Room 77 is that it drives qualified leads to hotels. If Room 77 has a direct relationship with a hotel, it will direct the user to the hotel’s booking site. If no relationship exists yet, Room 77 will direct the user to an online travel agency. Room 77 also is exploring with hotels the implementation of room request guarantees, through which the properties could generate incremental revenue.
The Room 77 iPhone app provides location-based hotel suggestions and hotel room data on the go. Before check in, travelers can call the front desk and request one of the hotel’s preferred rooms. Or, while checking in, travelers can enter the room number offered by the clerk and Room 77 will advise if they should “take it” or “leave it” and offers alternate suggestions.
The app also has built-in features that allow travelers to help crowdsource Room 77’s database. Travelers can rate and review a room, verify data accuracy and upload interior room and view photos. Users can also help “sleuth” data on hotels not yet in the system by snapping a photo of the exit floor plan, typically available on the back of each guestroom door.
While Room 77’s staff has collected the majority of hotel room data, the company is already working directly with major hotel chains and individually owned properties to validate and expand data. Some of these include Kimpton Hotels such as Nine Zero Hotel and Hard Rock Chicago, as well as the Grand Hyatt Seattle, Andaz West Hollywood, Mark Hopkins in San Francisco, Cosmopolitan in Las Vegas and the Aston Waikiki Beach Hotel. Travelers will be able to identify validated properties like these by a “Hotel Verified” badge, located on each hotel’s page.
Room 77 expects to add new features, data, mobile platforms, and cities in the months ahead. “Now that we’ve built the base platform to house hotel room data globally,” Gerstner added, “our goal is to continue expanding our content while also exploring ways we can integrate Room 77’s data more closely with hotel property management systems—all to provide a more seamless experience for travelers.”