Room Key launches first international sites

Room Key, the hotel booking venture backed by six leading hotel brands, announced on Wednesday that it has expanded to include hotel inventory in the United Kingdom, Canada, Australia and New Zealand. Partner hotels will be searchable on the website and four new country-specific sites: (UK), (Canada), (Australia) and (New Zealand).

When launched in January 2012, it included only U.S. hotel listings from its six hotelier founders: Choice Hotels International, InterContinental Hotels Group, Hilton Worldwide, Hyatt Hotels Corporation, Marriott International and Wyndham Hotel Group. Within two months, Room Key has developed partnerships with Best Western as well as Preferred Hotel Group and Worldhotels, two hotel companies with a roster of hundreds of independently-owned luxury hotels, resorts and residences.

Room Key’s super simple hotel search remains the same across all five of its portals. Though users can now view search results in the currency of their choice.

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Major hotel brands band together to launch

What do you get when six of the world’s leading hotel brands come together? You get, a new hotel search engine that launched on Wednesday.

Choice Hotels International, InterContinental Hotels Group, Hilton Worldwide, Hyatt Hotels Corporation, Marriott International, and Wyndham Hotel Group form the group of six that created, a simple search tool that allows travelers to search for hotels by date and location, then delivers results that can be sorted by price, distance, hotel name, and star rating. Room Key users can toggle search results to view them on a grid, in a list, or on a map.

At first glance, Room Key’s format appears to be modeled on Google Hotel Finder, the hotel search engine that Google unveiled last summer. Like Hotel Finder, Room Key results link to the hotels’ websites rather than a third-party booking site, thereby ensuring “a personalized and welcoming experience that offers flexibility, accuracy, and benefits of booking with the hotel companies’ proprietary sites,” according to Shafiq Khan, senior vice president of ecommerce, Marriott International. Choice Hotels International’s Senior Vice President of Global Distribution Robert McDowell added, “We at Choice are thrilled to be a part of Room Key alongside these five other global hotel companies. In the face of a staggering number of online booking options, our goal is to make the experience of finding the right hotel as personal and enjoyable as the experience of staying in one.”

Room Key’s beta launch includes only U.S. hotels, but that should change in a future iteration of the site given the vast inventory of properties available under Room Key’s six partners. Also look for the site to expand with more user reviews, comparison tools, and social sharing of travel plans.