Room 77 Helps Travelers Choose a Hotel Room With a View
Park Plaza Westminster Bridge, Libby Zay
The idea for the new hotel room database, named Room 77, was born after founder Brad Gerstner got room envy after scoping out the view from an amazing room – that wasn't the one he booked – at a Caribbean hotel. He saved the room number – 77 – in his phone and from then on began to add his favorite rooms to the list.
Gerstner's friends began asking which rooms they should request on trips, and he soon realized a database would be a great tool for travelers.
The Room 77 site, which opened as a public beta test this week, uses Google Earth technology to generate a virtual hotel room window, allowing travelers to get a sneak peak of the surrounding area. Travelers can also choose rooms based on other criteria, including room category, square footage, bed type, elevator proximity and if there is a connecting room.
Kevin Fliess, general manager and Vice President of Product for Room 77, tells AOL Travel News travelers "crave more information, but to date no one has explored the importance of room-level data."
Room 77 is is currently a collection of more than 425,000 properties, 3-star and up, in 16 U.S. cities – including major cities like New York, Las Vegas, Chicago and Washington DC – and London, with plans to grow. Though you can't book a room directly on the website, Room 77 links to the hotels' reservations engines and also collects tips on how to nab perfect rooms.
The company built the hotel room database using "official and unofficial sources – some of which we feel better about not disclosing" says Fliess, who confirmed Kimpton is working directly with Room 77, but would not disclose if any other chains were involved. Starwood talked postively about Room 77 in the start-up's press release.
The easy-to-use interface allows you to type in a hotel name and set your room preferences, and then suggests hotel rooms that match your selections.
But the most advantageous way to use the database may be via the iPhone application when you're at the check-in counter at a hotel. When the clerk assigns your room, you can punch the number into the Room 77 datebase and see if it gets a thumbs-up or down based on your preferences.
"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," said Brad Gerstner, founder and chairman of Room 77. "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."
(Fran Golden contributed to this report.)
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