Kayak Puts Hotel Guests In Control With New Digital Service

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Having a $40 room-service cheeseburger (plus tax and tip) delivered to your hotel room just got even easier.

Travel search company Kayak is launching a new feature allowing guests at independent hotels to check in, lock their rooms, and order up snacks all from the Kayak app.

Kayak Conveniences

Global hotel chains like Hilton and Marriott have for years offered apps allowing guests to open room doors and order room-service with a few taps of a finger. But your local bed-and-breakfast likely doesn’t have the bankroll for a proprietary app development team – especially after the past 12 months.

That’s where Kayak comes in. Founded in 2004 as a “metasearch” engine, Kayak allows users to compare prices for hotels, airlines, and other travel services from an array of web-based travel agencies. And now, the company operated by travel giant Booking Holdings is getting an upgrade in the amenities department:

  • Guests at smaller, independent hotels will soon be able to manage reservations through the Kayak app, including features like selecting a room or delaying check-out.
  • Leisure requests – like calling in anything from fresh towels to champagne and caviar – will also be possible via the app. Consider it the Postmates of the hotel ecosystem.

CEO Steve Hafner says Kayak’s overhauled app will achieve the same level of service as the big-box hotel chains. It will debut in April at the Kayak Miami Beach hotel – the company’s freshly branded property. Kayak is also exploring cities like Los Angeles and Berlin for future hotel locations.

Hospitality Wars

In hospitality, going the extra mile for your customer can make all the difference. But some industry players are going as far as infringing on each other’s market territory.

  • After reimagining lodging and becoming public enemy #1 to hotels in the process, Airbnb actually began to list hotels on its site in 2018, even gobbling up hotel-booking app HotelTonight a year later.
  • And Marriott is fashioning its own in-house Airbnb after entering the home-rental business in 2019 – because having the most guest rooms of any hotel chain in the world simply isn’t enough.

Booking Battle: Top hotels are also trying to extricate online middlemen like Expedia and Booking by offering low-price guarantees and other incentives for customers that book directly.