A news release yesterday via Business Wire tells of conglomerate hotel booking site Room Key’s coming out of Beta status. What’s curious about this news is not so much the fluffy nature of it, but claims of millions having flocked to the startup to book their hotel rooms. At least this is the feel of the announcement. A bit of one of those “non-event” specialties creative PR agencies excel at perhaps? What’s the real story?
Roomkey. If there were ever a more appropriate name for a hotel booking channel, a more symbolically significant potential for branding, that would have to be perfection. Roomkey.com actually does have that possibility. But, like all great ideas and initiatives, the big time hoteliers’ 3rd interjection of intelligent engagement, has it’s problems too. There’s room for lots of niche products in travel, but is Roomkey an escape hatch or a marketing channel? And if exit marketing is introduced, even niche traffic and conversions could be scared away.
In travel technology news from yesterday Tnooz carried the announcement that six of the world’s largest hotel proprietors had launched a booking commune Roomkey. Choice Hotels International, Hilton Worldwide, Hyatt Hotels, InterContinental Hotels, Marriott International and Wyndham Hotel Group set sail on a joint venture which is piloted by Pegasus founder John Davis. Argophilia Travel News decided to take the new flagship for a ride.