Sunday, April 10, 2011

Booking A Room With A View

I have always been quick to criticise moteliers that insist on over-describing their inventory by listing every single room in their complex on booking engines. My rationale of not recommending that every room is laboriously listed is based on not wanting to confuse the consumer with an extended, randomly repeated matrix of rooms, when concise and easily understood room types can be used. And besides, guests booking specific room numbers can provide inflexible roadblocks on accommodation operators' reservation worksheets...

We note with interest that while all mainstream Online Travel Agents list room types, a new reference website Room 77 provides a database of accommodation providers that describe every individual room including the room number, in-room photos, room layout, floor level, distance to the elevator and even gives a picture of the room's unique view.

We like the concept and the website can provide endless fun for guest-room voyeurs.

The database doesn't seem to contain motels so far, however there is no reason why not, as even the same room types within a smaller property can vary by their location.

The background of how Room 77 founder, Brad Gerstner came to realise the potential of setting up the room database makes an interesting story:
"Brad Gerstner would maintain a running list of his favorite hotel rooms on his BlackBerry. Friends got wind of the list and started asking for copies, and Gerstner started thinking about the larger problem, a problem of information asymmetry: Hotel front desks have all the information on rooms, while the consumer has nothing.
It took years — and countless hours with Gerstner and friends walking through hotel hallways and gathering floor information — for the full Room 77 concept to materialise into a functional hotel room database and search engine. Today, travellers can turn to Room 77 to get the run-down on nearly half a million hotel rooms in 18 different cities."
The site has the obligatory companion iPhone app that we found buggy and difficult to use before we lost interest. 

It will be interesting to see if the concept of booking specific rooms by room number will grow in popularity?

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