6 giants launch hotel search engine

Six of the world’s largest hotel companies have joined forces to create a hotel search engine website that facilitates booking on better terms than most online travel agencies.

A beta version of was officially launched on Wednesday. Its operating company Room Key was founded by Choice Hotels International, Silver Spring, Maryland, Hilton Worldwide, McLean, Virginia, Hyatt Hotels Corp., Chicago, IHG, Denham, U.K., Marriott International Inc., Bethesda, Maryland, Wyndham Worldwide Corp., Parsippany-Troy Hills, New Jersey, the site currently facilitates direct booking at 23,000 properties affiliated with these companies worldwide. Each hotel company owns an equal slice of Room Key.

“The intent all along was to drive down the cost of distribution and provide consumers with a better experience,” said John Davis III, Room Key CEO. “Allowing them to book directly and become a direct guest of the hotel is a game-changer.”

Room Key, Dallas, earns a commission from the booking, which Davis said is at a more supplier-friendly rate than what third party OTAs are offering, as it redirects users to the hotel company’s website for a direct booking. Since their inception over the past decade, the high commission rates of OTAs have been a contentious issue in the hotel industry.

This unique offering will quickly evolve to offer independent reviews, and the ability to compare, plan and share with friends and family.

The company acquired its technology platform from hotelicopter in an asset deal that closed last year.

Additionally, hotelicopter’s affiliate platform will provide destination marketing organizations with a hotel marketing platform that helps drive more direct bookings to their local hotels, now under the Room Key Solutions brand.

Room Key is looking to add additional hotel companies to its offerings, and said a major announcement on this is planned for next week. The company is concentrating on U.S. consumers initially before broadening to a global focus this summer.

Editor’s note: An in-depth interview with Room Key CEO John Davis III about the new website will be featured in Friday’s HOTELS Daily News Service.'s website emphasizes ease of use and an uncluttered design to differentiate itself from third-party OTA websites.’s website emphasizes ease of use and an uncluttered design to differentiate itself from third-party OTA websites.