Up to this point in time, as RoomKey.com enters its third year of operation as a pop-up annoyance when searching hotel chain sites, the greatest use I have derived from the company is a t-shirt I picked up at a TBEX conference in 2012 and still wear regularly. RoomKey is owned by hotel chains including Choice, Hilton, Hyatt, InterContinental and Wyndham. The idea is to try and draw you back into a chain hotel booking after leaving one of the the hotel chain’s booking sites when you see the RoomKey pop-up screen. So when you check a Hilton hotel for New York, RoomKey displays other hotels in its network of chain hotels with rates.
RoomKey is planning enhancements to its website that may make the site more desirable than annoying.
Welcome to Room Key
Founded by the world’s leading hotel companies, hospitality is who we are and what we do. Featuring 100+ brands you trust across 159 countries, each time you book direct through Room Key, you earn your qualifying hotel rewards. For maximum value, link your hotel rewards programs to compare member-only benefits on Room Key…then simply Search hotels. Book direct. Relax.
Tnooz.com has an interview article with Room Key CEO John F. Davis III discussing a new concept to be introduced in 2014. RoomKey will allow members to register their loyalty program memberships. RoomKey.com will then organize hotel rates at hotel chains where you have status. Clicking on the hotel will detail the benefits you can expect at the hotel based on your loyalty membership and elite status. You can check your nights and stays and point balance in different hotel loyalty programs. There is a RoomKey.com hotel loyalty program dashboard image in the Tnooz article.
Perhaps even more significant is the article suggests the recent UK ruling on hotel rates price-fixing by Expedia, booking.com and hotel chains means members of a closed group like loyalty program membership can be offered lower rates than publicly available. Hyatt is already doing this with their 20% off Elite Member discount.
Hotel stay promotions may move beyond targeted personalized points offers like IHG Big Win to targeted loyalty member discount rates.
RoomKey.com as a standalone website.
The growth of mobile booking in the hotel industry sounds like it has been an impediment to RoomKey.com growth. The website changes with hotel loyalty membership registration are aimed at making RoomKey.com a direct hotel booking destination website since pop-ups do not work in a mobile environment.
For me, a dashboard of loyalty program data while I am planning hotel bookings is a desirable feature.
If RoomKey.com can also add promotion bonus data to room rate searches, then that would be a major innovation. It would be a great convenience to know that booking the next Marriott stay would earn a free night with MegaBonus or that Hyatt Place night comes with an extra 1,000 bonus points.
Ric Garrido of Monterey, California is writer and owner of Loyalty Traveler.
Loyalty Traveler shares news and views on hotels, hotel loyalty programs and vacation destinations for frequent guests.