Expedia is leading a $30.3 million investment in Room 77, an online travel startup whose search service is designed to help people find the perfect hotel room. Though based in Mountain View, California, Room 77 has multiple connections to the Seattle online travel industry.
Other investors in the company include Expedia founder and Zillow Chairman Rich Barton; Zillow CEO and former Hotwire executive Spencer Rascoff; Former Expedia CEO Erik Blachford; Former Farecast CEO Hugh Crean; and Concur Technologies, the Redmond-based maker of travel and entertainment expense management software that’s been making a series of investments in travel-oriented companies.
Total funding in Room 77, which launched publicly last February, now stands at $43.8 million.
There’s certainly been a lot of activity in the online travel space in recent months, including Priceline.com’s $1.8 billion acquisition of Kayak and Expedia’s big $628 million investment in Germany-based Trivago.
Room 77 allows individuals to search for hotels across multiple travel sites at the same time, finding the best deals on selected hotels. It also allows travelers to sort by price and amenities like free parking and free Wi-Fi. It also includes the ability to sort by special AAA member rates, military discounts and senior rates. In more than 5 million hotel searches, Room 77 said that it found lower prices in two out of every three hotel searches, uncovering an average of $72 in savings per stay. That has led to a repeat booking rate of more than 50 percent.
“We believe metasearch is an increasingly important model and complementary to our travel transaction businesses,” said Expedia CEO Dara Khosrowshahi in a statement. “The level of innovation and depth of content at Room 77 excites us about its future role in this important customer acquisition channel.”
Room 77 plans to use the funds to add engineers; roll out new products; and bolster marketing efforts. As a result of the deal, Jim White, nanaging director of Sutter Hill Ventures, will join Room 77′s board. (Sutter Hill was an early investor in Farecast, which was purchased in 2008 by Microsoft and now makes up a component of Bing Travel).