Room 77, the very cool site that finds the best room for you at the hotel you want, has taken the next logical step in its growth and added the capability to actually book the rooms it finds for you.
The mobile app is unchanged: It can tell you about a room at a hotel when you check in but before you leave the front desk, so you can have a nice discussion with the hotel clerk if it's a stinker.
, there's no programmatic way yet for the network of hotel reservation systems to communicate specific room requests, although you can request a hotel-specific class of room. So if you want a particular room that Room 77 knows is quiet and has a view you especially like, the service has to do a little work on your behalf to get you this room. This free service, called Room Concierge, works "behind the scenes," when you're booking a three- to five-start hotel to get you what you ask for.
The Concierge service is mostly automated, General Manager Kevin Fliess told me, but there is a staff of humans that will step in and work with hotels, when necessary, to get users their rooms.
Room 77 also shows you prices from other reservation systems, like Expedia and Hotels.com, and lets you book rooms through them if you want. But unless you're getting some affiliation bonus or kickback from one of these services, don't bother, since they don't give you the precision room-booking service that Room 77's does. Fliess says Room 77's prices will be the same or better than what you can find elsewhere.
But Fliess doesn't care if you use his service or book through another service that you found on the Room 77 hotel search engine. "We get paid whether you use our service or theirs," he says. Nice business. And a nice product for travelers, too.