Choosing the new Launch Conference in San Francisco to showcase the system made a lot of sense – captive audience of US startups, media and investors, and a decent array of judges to pose questions after the presentation.
For those locked away for the past seven days (or simply getting on with real life, of course), Room 77 lets users discover more about a hotel based on actual rooms in the property, including amenities, location, and the all-important view from the window (or not).
Here is CEO Brad Gerstner making the pitch (starts at around the 5-minute mark, questions kick in at 13m30s):
One key question comes at 18m00s.
One of the members of the “jury” comments that it is perhaps in the cruise sector where such a service will be more useful, mostly because the rooms are 1) more expensive and 2) vastly different in size, amenities and, of course, views.
Gerstner doesn’t get round to answering directly, moving onto questions around supply lines and negotiations with hotels (also important questions).
But back to cruise.
Gerstner had a great poker face on when the question was asked – there really was no indication at all as to whether Room 77 is considering such a move or whether he was actually having a eureka moment, just like the jurist.
If Room 77 makes a play for the cruise market, however, it may not be alone.
SeatGuru owner TripAdvisor is probably the first place to look, given its experience and obvious strategy to cover off as many areas of travel planning as possible.
At the moment TripAdvisor has CruiseCritic, a standalone forum, news portal and review system which it bought in 2007 and has since extended to the UK.
As has been suggested for a while, TripAdvisor would do well to augment the CruiseCritic service with some kind of cabin and ship service guide – maybe called CabinGuru (keeping it in the SeatGuru theme)?
TripAdvisor HAS to be thinking of such a service. So, a quick check to see if the¬†CabinGuru.com domain exists…
Of course it does – it belongs to TripAdvisor and – drum-roll – currently redirects to CruiseCritic.
It turns out that TripAdvisor has had the URL for quite some time – at least a few years. But TripAdvisor is trying to keep things very low-key about CabinGuru, rebuffing any queries about the site for months.
When asked again last week, following the Room 77 questions at the Launch Conference, a TripAdvisor official simply said there is currently “nothing to share”.
An overused phrase, but justified on this occasion: probably watch this space (especially if those upstarts Room 77ers are already working on something).