Room 77, a comprehensive search engine and review site focused exclusively on hotel rooms, has raised $10.5 million in Series B financing led by General Catalyst Partners with participation from PAR Capital Management; Sutter Hill Ventures; Felicis Ventures; Rich Barton (founder of Expedia and co-founder of Zillow); and Erik Blachford (former president of IAC Travel). This brings the total amount the company has raised to date to $13.5 million.
Room 77, which officially launched in public beta in February, has collected and indexed data on more than 500,000 hotel rooms in 2,500 properties and also crowdsources reviews and ratings from travelers.
The site provides travelers with specific details about each hotel room at a property, including the room category, square footage, bed type, elevator proximity and if it is a connecting room. For each room, Room 77 also generates a virtual Room View, simulating the actual view from that room’s window using Google Earth-enabled technology.
The best rooms for each traveler are automatically ranked using Room 77’s proprietary Room Rank algorithm that adjusts to each individual’s preferences for high or low floor, distance from elevator, view importance and need for connecting rooms. Each room is then scored with a color-coded match percentage indicating: “strong match” (green), “fair match” (yellow) and “weak match” (red). Room 77 also gives travelers insider tips on how to request desirable room(s) directly from the hotel and increase the probability of securing one.
For now the company is focusing on indexing every hotel room at every three- to five-star hotel and resort worldwide, which the company estimates to total approximately 25,000 properties. Currently, the startup has property and room data in 24 markets but hopes to use the funding for further international expansion. Room 77 will also use the investment to expand its core search platform to offer more ways to help travelers shop and book hotels online and via mobile devices.
Room 77 seems like it could provide a useful service as long as it collects the right intelligence on hotels. That’s why the startup has been partnering with hotel groups to provider accurate information. Obtaining this information may give it a leg up in terms of competition from user reviews giant TripAdvisor.