When Roomkey was launched the idea was to take away bookings from OTA’s and get more direct bookings. The six brands behind it bought a lot of inventory to the product but it still wasn’t comparable to some of the big OTA’s.
Roomkey has seen some success in getting traffic to the site, about 2 million visitors came to the site in March. Their main strategy is focusing on people who checked a room rate but are not going to book, they get a pop under and when it is clicked it leads the visitor to Roomkey.
Recently they have integrated TripAdvisor ratings into their site. Considering how important reviews are to consumer research it is a smart strategy. But, TripAdvisor also gives the visitor an opportunity to click on the link and leave the site. This could lead them to make a booking through an OTA after all, as, TripAdvisor gives OTA’s ample opportunity to drive bookings through their site.
Travelocity integration brings their inventory to Roomkey but it also takes bookings through an OTA. This is where things become interesting, as, the whole goal of the site was to drive direct bookings, reduce OTA bookings and costs.
As quoted in Tnooz, Roomkey CEO says this is to bridge the inventory gap while their contract with Sabre, Travelclick is being implemented.
The focus on the site is still on identifying where the booking is being made, for example, the direct bookings on the hotels website are highlighted by “Book at” and then the hotel logo. Bookings on the site are highlighted by the “Book it” button.
These integration make the site make sense from the consumer point of view as they don’t have to surf multiple sites and they can see multiple choices with their ratings on one platform. But, from the point of the industry where Roomkey was hailed for its effort to bring direct bookings to brandsites and reduce costs it is an interesting move.
It is a startup and it will incorporate and sometimes remove features on its path to success but one thing is clear, they are willing to take bold steps and not taking sides.
What do you think of these recent changes?