Room 77: Know Your Hotel Room Before It's Your Hotel Room

By  |  Thursday, February 24, 2011 at 10:46 am

When I’m on the road and enter my hotel room for the first time, I turn on the light, survey my surroundings to mentally rate the quality of the accommodations for the price I paid, and then open the curtains so I can judge the view. So, I’ll bet, do you. But it always feels like a crapshoot–by the time I know much about the room, I’m in it and have agreed to pay for it.

Room 77–which was the first company to demo today at the Launch conference here in San Francisco–has a (potentially) better idea: It’s collecting and sharing information about individual rooms in specific hotels. It knows the features rooms have; it knows whether they’re corner rooms and how large they are; it uses Google Earth to generate simulated views as you’ll see them from specific rooms. If a particular hotel is in its database, you can judge its rooms from the comfort of home (or anywhere else–there’s an iPhone app).

I love the concept, but it does leave me with a bunch of questions. Will the site be able to map out all the hotels in every location that travelers care about? (Right now, it’s covering 16 cities and has 425,000 rooms, or a bit less than three times the quantity of rooms in Las Vegas alone; it’s also concentrating on better-class hotels.) Will hotels cooperate or complain? (The company says it’s collecting data on its own, but that some hotel chains are helping.) Even if I know that a particular room is a delight–or a dog–will I be able to do anything with that information? (You can’t specify the room when you book, and I wonder what would happen if you showed up at the front desk of a Wyndham for check-in and demanded room 1792.)

For Room 77 to change the world, it would have to…well, change the world. Or at least the way we deal with hotel companies. Maybe the day will come when we can pick rooms the way we do when we pay for a seat in an airplane or a theater. We might end up paying more for the very best rooms than we do now; then again, we might pay less for unexpectedly tiny rooms that overlook rusty ventilation systems.

If it does, Room 77 would be awfully handy. And if it catches on, it might help nudge the hotel business in that direction.

 

 
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4 Comments For This Post

  1. GadgetGav Says:

    The biggest issue I can see is the one you mention about what do we do with the information… It's not like SeatGuru which rates airline seats. When you book a flight, you can book a seat. Even if you use this service to find a hotel that on average has better rooms than another, there's no way to be sure you'll get the room you'd prefer. I'm sure every hotel has good and bad rooms, just like every plane has good and bad seats. Unless the hotels allow you to book a specific room, not just a class of room, what's the point? And hotels will never do that for many reasons: e.g. they can't be sure that the person before you will have left when you arrive (not a problem on a plane), and if the service is popular and the choice rooms become well known, they'll never be able to fill the second rate ones.

  2. The_Heraclitus Says:

    After being engaged in world wide business travel for the past two decades, I can say that this is pretty useless. Why? Because hotels don't assign rooms until you physically check-in.

  3. Bill Beasley Says:

    They got 10.5 mil for start up costs. They probably could have bought http://roomswithgreatviews.com/ for a couple of thousand bucks.

  4. videomaker114 Says:

    WOw this is an excellent view. i really like the blog post which you have made. i was in Cruise agency with them, but
    i really like the way they have predicated every thing. Thanks

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