The latest industry to see the rise of a potential game changing start-up is the Hotel Biz.
A little known startup called Room 77 was profiled today by Nick Wingfield in the Bits Blog of the New York Times.
Earlier this year Room 77 launched a web site that allows its customers to select specific rooms in hotels instead of just “Types” of rooms.
With a very clean interface that enables a consumer to study the layout of rooms in the hotel and even see the view from the hotel window for that room, Room 77 allows a traveler to check out things that may be important to them, like distance from elevators or stairs. In the beginning not a lot of hotels will be able to offer the information needed for this product, so getting the exact room will be difficult for a while.
But when they do start offering this service, they will be embarking on a new world for hotel operators: transparency.
Most hotels aren’t thrilled about the idea of a consumer knowing exactly what he or she wants. The problem is obvious: Hotels haven’t been particularly good at giving people what they want, so they use their own judgement frequently to give the potential customer something close to what they really want, but not the exact room type because it may not be available. That process becomes much more complicated if the requests are for specific rooms.
The hotels worry that they will lose customers who can’t get the specific room they want. There is a legitimate question as to whether or not the hotel managers really want to see this kind of information out there in real time.But the fact is, if you can give the consumer something he or she wants, you are doing the right thing. One way or another they will get the information they want, so if you are a hotel owner/manager, you would be better off embracing this technology and running to be up first and best with it.
On top of that, this opens the door for a new pricing model. The very “best” rooms, based on the demand from customers, could cost more. Think of the airline seats with more space that now sell that added space for more.
No matter what, this is the case of technology improving the relationship between the customer and the company.