Here's a link to an article where Marriott and 5 other big hotel chains are starting/sponsoring the new RoomKey site.
Seems they are trying to loosen the grip that Big Cut-Rate Travel sites have and return some of the cost back into their pockets, at the same time. I'd like to see what others think.
I think I read in the article that we would get points, probably because they will have to pay a much smaller premium to RoomKey, than they have to with ones like Expedia, Orbitz, etc.. (25% and higher to those sites). I don't know if we'll actually see a lower cost, because it sounds like it will just be a cleaner search for customers to find locations and places they want to stay, and then when they go to book, it will take them straight to the hotel chain's site. Seems like it may almost be the same rates/specials as if you went straight to Marriott and made the booking. The less Marriott, or any of the other chains, have to pay by you going to some other site first, the more they will get to keep and the happier they will be. Most chains won't necessarily pass the savings down to the customers, maybe because they negotiate with the discount travel sites to not undercut them either?
I searched the RoomKey site to match the booking I got in Vegas and found that the site displays a rate for a night, but not any deals that may be available. For an example, there is a buy 2, get 1 night free at the Renaissance in Vegas for the nights I chose, but only the rate for one night displayed on my RoomKey search. When I clicked it and was taken to the site (The Renaissance) I found that I could then search packages and pick the package deal if I wanted that. But, the problem is, I wouldn't have picked the Renaissance location if I had not known in advance that a deal was available because there were better rates for other hotels on the RoomKey search page when it posted available hotels.
So, if I hadn't known that there was a Buy 2, get 1 free available for the dates I chose, I wouldn't have been advantaged to the best deal thru the RoomKey site for my dates.
Seems like they have some further work to do to tweak the site to display available 'deals'...if that is their intent.
I am doubtful if they will put up all their best deals, at least yet. I figure the chains going in on this together, don't want to start a bargain discount shopping spree between each other, that they all try to start beating each other. My guess is that they just want you to see all their choices if you are looking for a certain area, without going through the discount sites first, keeping more of the money themselves. They maybe just want you to find those locations and then bring you to their own site to find specials.