Air Travel News
Six leading hotel companies launch new search engine
Six of the world’s leading hotel groups – with one conspicuous absence – have launched a new search engine and booking site for all of their member properties, giving consumers a way to deal directly with the companies instead of going through an online travel agency or other intermediary site.
The site is called Room Key (www.Roomkey.com); its founding and owning partners include Choice Hotels International, Hilton Worldwide, Hyatt Hotels Corp., InterContinental Hotels Group, Marriott International and Wyndham Hotel Group. One of the world’s largest hotel companies – Starwood – is not a party to the venture. Meanwhile, the company announced that the Best Western lodging group has joined the venture as its first “commercial partner.”
The site has a simple user interface and is based on a technology platform that the venture acquired from Hotelicopter. Users simply input a city, zip code or airport as well as dates of stay and the system displays all matching properties with their starting rates and a photo. It allows users to sort the results by distance from the selected destination, price, hotel name or hotel rating, but not by neighborhood or section of town. Each hotel displayed includes a star rating, a link to the selected company’s reservations system, and a link to more information about that particular property, including a location map.
“This unique offering will quickly evolve to offer independent reviews, and the ability to compare, plan and share with friends and family,” the company said. “Room Key will initially focus on serving U.S. travelers, followed shortly after launch by the expansion of the site to English-speaking regions outside the U.S.”