Hotel room views are the primary purpose of Room77.com.
Room77 tagline reads “Your key to a great room” and their website tag is “Find your perfect room.”
The ability to preview the room view for specific rooms at a hotel offers a guest the ability to choose a better hotel room view for your stay, if the hotel will let you have that specific room. The weakness of the site to me at the present time is the lack of photographic images of rooms. Room77 images are computer generated images that lack some details. Also the angle shown is only the room view when looking directly straight out one window. Room windows often have many different views from multiple windows in the room.
The ability for our eyes to look right or left or up and down can make a significant difference in room view.
A convenient thing for me was seeing the Room77.com homepage featured 20 hotels. Turns out that I have room photos from eight of these 20 hotels from stays and visits in the past year. It could have even been nine hotels, but I couldn’t talk my way into seeing a room at the Grand Hyatt Seattle two weeks ago.
I picked three hotels featured on the homepage of Room77 where I have room photos to provide a comparison to Room77.com website views from these or similarly located hotel rooms.
The hotel floor room map is a useful feature for seeing corner rooms, room category, and quickly locating views from different sides of the building.
Here is my Loyalty traveler photograph of The Cosmopolitan Las Vegas – Room 5878 in December 2010:
This kind of blew my mind to see that I have almost the same photo angle. There is a lot of detail in the Room77 computer generated image.
Room 5878 and 4578 are wraparound terrace rooms with a corner building balcony that also faces east to Planet Hollywood. The Room77.com view from Room 4579 shows another angle of the 4578 wraparound terrace view.
The angle seems slightly high on the Room77 image since I supposedly was on a higher floor at the Cosmopolitan.
Room77.com images for The Cosmopolitan Las Vegas look pretty close to my photos. Despite these being digital images the detail is right on for these rooms.
But here is an angle completely missing from Room77.com images:
This angle is taken from the balcony looking diagonally across the Las Vegas Strip.
Sheraton Chicago Hotel & Towers
On my first trip to Chicago I spent the first night in the Sheraton Chicago room 2703 with a view of the river and the Trump Tower.
Here is the Room77.com view for Sheraton Chicago Room 2703.
My photo shows a similar view when looking out from the bed. I don’t have much detail in my photo since I was photographing the bed and not the view. Room 2703 had two windows and I did not photograph the view looking directly out the center of the window. There were better views from different angles.
Room77 would probably have discouraged me from wanting this room. Sure I had the view shown in Room77, but obviously there was also much more view in that room. The main issue I see with Room77 for room views is the static angle directly out the center window. Many rooms have multiple viewpoints.
The view from a high rise hotel usually has a view down.
I noticed Room77.com has a “Hotel Verified” checkbox on the site.
Vancouver Hyatt Regency Room 3301
Room 3301 at the Vancouver Hyatt Regency is a top-floor corner Executive Suite with a balcony over Burrard Street.
Room77.com view from Vancouver Hyatt Regency Room 3301:
This room view is fairly accurate when looking out the sitting room window.
Once again I have a near identical photo. Vancouver is a booming city. Pick out the details that have changed since the Room77 image was created. I think the Room77 image looks like a higher angle.
But my camera eye immediately went to this view when I stood at the window of room 3301.
My eye gravitated to the Fairmont Hotel Vancouver.
This is a room at the Vancouver Hyatt Regency with great views in the city. I reminded myself of an axiom Kelley and I have lived by for most of our lives, “Live in a room with the view of the finest looking things around.”
Thoughts on Room77.com
Room77 offers its site take on each hotel. The hotel marketing description focuses primarily on the positive sides of a hotel and stays fairly safe from critical judgment. There are good basic tips on hotel room selection like get on a high floor and avoid connecting rooms.
This is a site that could really benefit from crowdsourcing photo donations for room views. I gathered from the Travel Blog Exchange 2011 conference (#TBEX on Twitter) in Vancouver last week that Room77 is attempting crowdsourcing room photos.
As a hotel junkie I like the concept. I have to wonder though if room views are enough for a site. This seems more like an application to a bigger database like TripAdvisor.com hotel reviews. Where I see real value for the frequent guest is combining room view data with actual room furnishings and amenities data.
Seeing the room view is one nice feature, but I also want to know if the room has a couch, the bathroom size, TV size, refrigerator available and empty or electronic mini-bar. Finding out all these details is time consuming for the guest.
Room77.com partially tackles one aspect of the room – the view. Room view is an important aspect for me as a traveler, but one viewpoint is insufficient data to capture the view from room windows as I have possibly illustrated in this post.
As a quantitative exercise I imagined 500,000 rooms being photographed (the number of rooms listed on Room77 in 24 cities) while paying someone $10 to photograph a room.
The cost to buy photos is $5 million to get a photo library of one half-million rooms; $50 million to get a library of five million hotel rooms globally.
I think it would be cool if there was a database that all hotels fed into to show the room views from each room location at several angles and show the room furnishings. Room view is possibly my top primary desire when traveling. Room furnishings are nearly as important too.
Apparently Room77 picked up $10.5 million in funding this month.
Room77.com looks like an (ad)venture start-up to follow as it develops a useful hotel room view database for travelers.