You read that right: The travel booking site Kayak is opening a hotel
Kayak, one of the biggest travel search engines around, is opening a hotel in Miami Beach, Florida, next month.
According to reporting by Travel Weekly, the internet-based travel agency is planting its flag in the physical world in conjunction with Life House, a hotel group with several properties in the United States and around the world.
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Kayak Miami Beach will feature 52 rooms in an art deco building dating back to 1934. It will feature a rooftop deck open to the public, a pool and a restaurant called Layla that will serve Mediterranean cuisine. Guests will also enjoy amenities like Le Labo toiletries, Marshall speakers and smart TVs in each room and bicycles, table games and more in the common areas.
Kayak envisions itself serving as a "one-stop-shop" for guests at boutique hotels so people can access new technologies without having to download a separate app each time they check-in to a new property.
Speaking with Travel Weekly, Kayak CEO Steve Hafner said its "app has already been downloaded by tens of millions of consumers. It's consistent. They know how it works. So, consumers will say, 'Gosh, I feel more comfortable choosing this independent hotel over a Marriott or Hilton because I know exactly what the check-in, checkout service experience is going to be like.'"
Kayak Miami Beach will serve as a hub to test these new offerings in the real world.
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Guests of the hotel can use the Kayak app not just as a digital room key and controller for certain in-room functions, but they will also be able to communicate with hotel staff, ask for upgrades and receive notifications for events related to their stay. And, in-lobby self-service kiosks will allow guests to complete check-in and peruse dining options.
Major hotel chains have been working over the years to add functionality to their mobile apps, including digital keys, automated check-in and checkout, food ordering, in-room TV remote control, communication between guests and staff, and more. And as a result of the coronavirus pandemic, travelers have begun to expect these features as standard practice -- especially at high-end properties.
Independent and boutique hotels may have similar functionality, but it's often delivered through their own mobile apps, creating a fractured experience for a guest who favors these types of properties over chain hotels.
So, while it remains to be seen whether Kayak's vision of "unifying" the guest experience at independent and boutique hotels will come to fruition, the change in consumer expectations brought on by the pandemic leads us to believe that Kayak's bet on creating consistency across hotels in its ecosystem just might pay off.
Hafner also told Travel Weekly that Kayak Miami Beach wouldn't be the only Kayak hotel. The company is actively looking at new markets -- and new types of properties -- for the brand's expansion. For now, though, rooms are available at Kayak Miami Beach from April 11, 2021, with nightly rates starting at around $230.