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Nearly three years after it launched, hotel booking site Room 77 has achieved a major milestone, and at the same time, has pretty much closed up shop by scoring a licensing deal with Google.
The all-powerful search engine is now using Room 77's extensive hotel database which includes details on specific rooms at hotels, including the size, the layout and even the amenities inside. The goal here is obviously for Google to snap up a larger share of the $450 billion that people around the world spend on travel & tourism in a single year (last year to be exact, according to the World Travel & Tourism Council.)
But according to Skift, this means that Room 77 has somewhat given up trying to be a player in the metasearch realm, with several of its engineers transferring over to Google to work on the licensing deal.
Carlson Hotels / Carlson Rezidor Hotel Group / Hotel News / Google / Google Wallet / Hotel Technology / → All Tags
Just the other week, we told you about Omni Hotels getting hip to Google Wallet. Now, another hotel group has joined the virtual billfold.
Carlson Rezidor Hotel Group, whose brands include Radisson Blu, Radisson, Park Plaza, Park Inn by Radisson, and Country Inns & Suites, is also allowing guests to store their Club Carlson loyalty program info in Google Wallet as well as letting guests pay for their stay using Google Wallet. Pretty cool and crazy convenient.
Apparently, Carlson has been testing this service since December 18th but they just went live with it on Monday. The Club Carlson loyalty program is not yet on Google Wallet (that will happen in early 2014) but it will allow guests to access their account information, receive notifications and messages based on geo targeting and earn and redeem Club Carlson Gold Points. Currently, Google Wallet is only available to U.S. residents but Google Wallet holders can use the service to book a hotel stay globally.
Hotel Loyalty Programs / Google / Loyalty Program News / Omni Hotels / Omni Select Guests / Hotel News / → All Tags
Not familiar with Google Wallet? It's a mobile app that allows consumers to store their loyalty cards from various places in one spot. Not only convenient, it allows you to ditch all those loyalty cards you've been carrying around in your real-life wallet.*
Omni is one of the first hotel groups to sign up with Google Wallet and in celebration of doing so, they are offering Select Guest members and new customers a 20 percent discount on a two-night stay at participating Omni hotels. Members who link their current account to Google Wallet or new members who sign-up for the Select Guest program, can book now through January 31, 2014 for stays through March 31, 2014. There are some restrictions (namely it can't be combined with other offers so read the fine print carefully.)
Google Wallet can be downloaded for free from Google Play and the Apple App Store. Also free to join is the Omni Select Guests program which you can join up right here.
*(We actually keep all these random loyalty cards in a separate pouch that we keep in our purse. It's maddening to carry around all the time, so we should probably get on this Google Wallet train.)
Today, Best Western International officially began a partnership with Google to put together virtual tours of all 2,200 of its properties. The plan is to have Google professionally photograph the entire hotel, then string them together to create a "walk-through" experience on the hotel's website.
“Best Western’s leadership and owners acted strongly and decisively on two superior market insights: consumer decision making in the hospitality category is increasingly moving online, and the internet is becoming more of a visually-driven medium,” said Best Western’s Dorothy Dowling, senior vice president of marketing and sales.
While there's no question Dowling is correct in her assessment on a general level when it comes to the Internet, we're still wondering how consumers feel about hotel websites. When we talked about them this summer, photos were definitely something potential customers enjoyed looking at, but experienced hotel-goers also noted how misleading "professional" photos can sometimes be, showing the hotel at its absolute best and not necessarily how it looks day-to-day.
Google has just launched their newest tool today--Hotel Finder, which as its name suggest helps you find hotels.
The good news is that it is way more useful than Google+ allowing you to filter hotel search results by neighborhood, price range and star ratings as well as see exactly where the hotel is located on Google maps and peruse reviews from Google members.
The function also allows you to book either through Hotels.com, Expedia, Booking.com, Priceline or the hotel's own website. And of course, you can compare prices before you decide who to book through (Just FYI: these companies don't pay to have their links listed but they do pay-per-click. Previously, we stated that the booking sites paid to have their links included.)
As you go along, you can add potential hotel picks to a Shortlist which stays up at the top of the page so that you don't have to keep going back and searching for them.
The bad news is that it's nothing really new.