News in brief:
hotelroomauction.co.uk launches in the UK
I met up with hotelroomauction.co.uk at World Travel Market last November but they kept slipping off the ‘to write about’ list. Better late than never though!
hotelroomauction is the UK spin-off of a Dutch website, hotelkamerveiling.nl, which has been in business since 2007. The company has over 700,000 registered members, receives 1 million visits per month to the Dutch site and has booked over 3 million rooms.
It is a simple platform which allows you to bid on hotel rooms in cities around Europe. In general, hotels offer 2-day packages, including breakfast, for two people. Most auctions are for weekend stays and your voucher is valid for 12 months. Blackout dates are shown in each listing.
As well as an auctioned lot, the site also makes the same packages available for a direct cash payment. I imagine this is how the site makes the bulk of its money.
The company works with the big hotel groups as well as independents. At the time of writing, the home page includes offers from Crowne Plaza Rome St Peters and a Radisson Blu in Brussels, although those auctions will be over by the time you read this.
The company brochure lists Wyndam, IHG, WorldHotels, Best Western, Ramada, Carlton and Campanile among the chains it works with.
There is also a longer list of ‘members only’ auctions which can only be viewed if you are registered, which are used by hotels who don’t want to be seen to be publicly discounting. The home page is here if you think the concept sounds interesting.
Hyatt launches ‘The Unbound Collection’, a new brand for independent hotels
A hotel executive with a major UK group told me recently that she isn’t primarily bothered about other chains these days. What keeps her up at night is the behaviour of the major online travel groups, primarily Expedia and Priceline / booking.com, who between them pose a far bigger threat to her profitability.
If it is bad for the chains, think about what life is like as an independent hotel, even a successful one. This is why we have seen the rise of Marriott’s Autograph Collection, the Starwood Tribute Collection and Hilton’s Curio Collection.
These groups – of which only Autograph has critical mass – allow independent hotels to be bookable via the website of a major chain and gain some ‘protection’ in rate negotations with the online travel groups.
In return, they pay a fee on every stay to the chain (to fund marketing, loyalty points etc), must honour – usually in a watered down form – elite benefits and must make rooms available for points redemption.
What the hotels do NOT have to do is meet any service standards. As Hyatt website says, it ‘works closely with our owners and operators to encourage a Hyatt standard of excellence’ – with the key word being ‘encourage’, not ‘mandate’.
Hyatt’s entry into this space is called the The Unbound Collection. It launched last week with three hotels – The Driskill in Austin, the Carmelo Resort & Spa in Uruguay (which used to be a Four Seasons I think) and the Hotel du Louvre in Paris (photo above).
The latter is, of course, the most likely to be of interest to Head for Points readers. That said, Hyatt is already well represented in Paris via a Park Hyatt, a Hyatt and a Hyatt Regency at Charles du Gualle.
A quick look for a random night in May turned up a rack rate of Euro 490 or 20,000 Hyatt Gold Passport so the Hotel du Louvre could be an interesting redemption option. Hyatt will need to start bulking up the property numbers soon, however, if this is not to turn into a damp squib.
If you wanted to visit the Hotel du Louvre for cash, Hyatt Gold Passport members can stay three nights for the price of two between 1st April and 30th June. This requires rate code FREE3 on hyatt.com. The same deal works for the other two Unbound hotels as well.
(Want to earn more hotel points? Click here to see our complete list of promotions from the major hotel chains or use the ‘Hotel Promos’ link in the menu bar at the top of the page.)