New website promises a room with a view

If you've ever asked to switch hotel room after finding an unpleasant view - or no view at all - there's a new website which could be for you.

Room 77, a new website which launched this week, aims to take online hotel shopping to the next level by providing details of individual rooms, rather than the whole hotel.

The website, which lists some 425,000 rooms in 2,500 hotels in the US and UK, provides data at a room level such as size, bed type, elevator proximity and whether it has a connecting door.

The niftiest feature is a virtual room view, allowing potential guests to look out of the window of the room to judge the view, thanks to technology from Google Earth.

Best rooms are scored according to each individual's preferences, giving a color-coded assessment of how suitable the room is for the travelers' needs - and there's even an iPhone app so that guests can check the room on the go, such as when they're offered it when checking in at the front desk.

In an action which could catch the eye of hotel review giant TripAdvisor, the new site is appealing to travelers to rate and review their rooms, upload interior photos and photograph the hotel's exit plans (normally included with fire instructions on the back of the door) to help it grow its database - it plans to add new markets "regularly".

Room 77 says that "all hotel rooms are not created equal" and although it's undoubtedly right, the biggest sticking point could be that hotels have little or no obligation to give guests the room they request, especially when they're busy.

That hasn't stopped international chain Starwood from backing the brand, saying that it supports "consumer empowerment" and "the more information guests have access to when comparing hotel options, the more our brands and hotels stand out as great destinations."

http://www.room77.com

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