Search Engine Kayak Courts Small Hotel Owners With Digital App Service – WSJ

The travel search company Kayak is launching a new feature that will enable guests at independent hotels to use the Kayak app to check in, lock their rooms and order food or fresh towels.

The company will debut this new system next month at the Kayak Miami Beach hotel, the newly branded property that is reopening after being closed for about a year. The 1934 art-deco style hotel will be managed by the boutique hotel operator Life House, which is partnering with Kayak on this venture.

Hotel guests can also use the Kayak app to pick a type of room or to request housekeeping or a late checkout.

Giant hotel operators such as Hilton Worldwide Holdings Inc. and Marriott International Inc. already offer apps that allow their guests to do things like open their room doors or order a room-service cheeseburger at properties across the U.S. and abroad.

But independent hotel owners don’t have the financial resources to invest in systems that offer these features. The Kayak app would elevate this service to the same level as the biggest brands, said Kayak Chief Executive Steve Hafner.

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