This is an unusual direction for an online travel agent …
Kayak Miami Beach opening April 2021
Travel Weekly reports that online travel agency Kayak will enter the stationary hospitality space with the opening of Kayak Miami Beach in April 2021. You heard that an online travel agency is opening a real hotel.
The 52-room hotel will take over the space of the former Life House Collins Park Hotel and is located in an Art Deco building that was first built in 1934.
This hotel is opening in partnership with Life House, a hotel brand and management group that currently operates over 20 hotels around the world. In other words, this property is being renamed the Kayak name.
The hotel will accept reservations for stays from April 11, 2021. Prices typically start at $ 229 per night. However, there are special offers that bring prices closer to ~ USD 160 on some dates.
Miami Beach Kayak Exterior
Why is Kayak opening a hotel?
On the surface, it seems bizarre for an online travel agency to get into the actual hotel business. So what is Kayak’s motivation? Well, as it turns out, the main thing is to test new technologies. Kayak Miami Beach will serve as a “design lab” where Kayak can test its app and other accommodation-related software innovations.
Kayak offers new app features including 24/7 access to hotel staff and support, a 60-second check-in experience and other digital amenities.
The motivation here seems to be that Kayak hopes to develop hotel software (including a useful hotel stay app) and then market it to independent properties that need better technology. The hope is that hotels will use the Kayak app locally and that these hotels will then also be highlighted in Kayak’s search results.
As Steve Hafner, CEO of Kayak, describes the plan:
“Even if this [independent] Hotels have their own apps. Consumers don’t want to download a new app every time they check into a hotel. What we’re bringing to the party there is that our app has already been downloaded by tens of millions of consumers. It’s consistent. You know how it works. So consumers will say, “Gosh, I’m more comfortable introducing this independent hotel to a Marriott or a Hilton because I know exactly what the check-in and check-out will be like.”
It is planned to open further kayak hotels in order to further refine and optimize this concept. However, we shouldn’t expect Kayak to become a large hotel group:
“We don’t want to make Kayak a hotel brand that competes with chains. But we’re going to look at different sizes of properties, different locations in the US and abroad, and then different types of properties, not just hotels. “
Kayak Miami Beach lobby
I suppose kayak comes into the hotel room
Suffice it to say, when I first saw the headline about opening a hotel by Kayak, I was puzzled and my mind started racing as to what might be the motivation. I have to do Kayak credit because this concept seems really well thought out:
- Kayak will develop software and an app that independent hotels can ultimately use to improve technology on the property
- Kayak has the money to invest in this project and is also well known around the world so hotels could benefit from it
- Not only could Kayak make money by licensing it to hotels, but it could also give Kayak a competitive advantage over other online travel agencies
- Kayak’s own hotel could do a pretty good job as Kayak is giving it a huge boost when it comes to finding Miami Beach hotels so the distribution costs are practically eliminated here
I am skeptical of how valuable such software will be for small hotels. The problem with fancy apps is that it’s not just about being able to develop them, it’s also about using the resources to make them useful. In other words, if there is a chat function at the reception via the app, there must actually be someone monitoring it.
Kayak Miami Beach Room
The online travel agency Kayak will open its own hotel in Miami Beach in April 2021. As strange as it sounds, the hotel will essentially act as a “design lab” for new app and software features that other independent hotels could potentially use.
The concept is that independent hotels cannot invest as much as the big hotel groups when it comes to technology. Kayak hopes to find a win-win solution – independent hotels can use Kayak’s technology and that in turn will bring Kayak more business.
What do you think of Kayak coming to town? indeed Hotel business?