Six of the biggest brands in the hotel industry have banded together to create a search engine for travelers to find the hotel experience that best fits them.
The new endeavor is called RoomKey.com and allows prospective customers to search, much like an Expedia or Travelocity, but specifically for hotels and is merely a tool -- the user then is directed to the website of the hotel chosen rather than booking through a third-party.
Roomkey launched Wednesday morning and is currently in beta.
The hotel companies are aiming to offer travelers a ‘personalized experience’ and for their accommodations and stress that the hotel one chooses is more critical and diverse than the airline carrier or the rental car.
"We believe Roomkey.com will provide consumers with an innovative resource that will give them unprecedented confidence in their booking decisions by fulfilling their hotel search needs with comprehensive and trusted content, and over time, through additional features such as the ability to connect and share their plans with family and friends - all provided through a simple and flexible site experience," said Roomkey's CEO John Davis, in a statement.
Davis was most recently the CEO of BirchStreet and is a veteran entrepreneur in the online commerce and hospitality sectors. In 1989, Davis launched a hotel distribution technology called Pegasus, which was streamlined into hotels worldwide. He also co-founded the well-known floral ordering company, 1-800 Flowers.
Choice Hotels International, InterContinental Hotels Group, Hilton Worldwide, Hyatt Hotels Corporation, Marriott International and Wyndham Hotel Group are the hoteliers that have grouped together to create this search tool.
At the moment, the website is a clean search tool that offers the traditional filters based on price, star-ratings, distance, amenities and brand but the service plans to add reviews, comparison tools and the ability to share travel plans with friends and family.
"RoomKey's new and unique offering will embody the best of what hotel company websites offer consumers, giving them confidence in their booking decisions -- a personalized and welcoming experience that offers flexibility, accuracy, and benefits of booking with the hotel companies' proprietary sites," Shafiq Khan, senior vice president of ecommerce, Marriott International, said in a statement. "In addition, the immediate scale of this venture will deliver meaningful value to our owners and franchisees by showcasing their properties. This is an exciting new venture, and Marriott International looks forward to actively supporting Room Key's growth."
Prior to this site's launch, Roomkey acquired another accommodation site, Hotelicopter, for an undisclosed amount -- likely to build up its technology platform.
Not surprisingly, since the six hoteliers launched the company, the site is limited to their brands but there is an addendum on the site for hotel brands to reach out and apply to be featured in the search results - time will tell if this is a pleasantry or a legitimate admissions process. The site is also limited, at the moment, to amenities within the US and is only offered in English. The group stated that other English-speaking countries would be next on the roll-out.