Jeremy Murphy wants to know how much an ocean view is worth and he's not the sort of guy who is going to settle for a florid metaphor. A former hedge fund researcher and graduate of UCLA's Anderson Business School, Murphy is as data oriented as they come. This passion for numbers is the driving force behind The Suitest, a hotel room-comparison startup that he founded with fellow Anderson alum Mike Aucoin. The new service uses reams of information culled from OTAs and double-checked by company researchers to compare accommodations on a granular level.
Murphy, a frequent traveler, says he was "shocked" by the luxury market's lack of transparent pricing when he graduated from the Red Roof Inn to the InterContinental and wanted to make sure he was getting the right size room for his buck: "If you want to have more than a bed to lay on, it can be difficult to know if you're getting ripped off." He decided to create a product that would allow customers to better assess deals.
The Suitest makes it easy for travelers to discern between a deal and a dousing by comparing the size of the room, number of amenities, and fees levied on every room and then ranking suites based on value rather than size or prestige. Looking for a great room in Chicago for around $500 in mid-July? The Suitest explains why it would be smarter to splurge a bit on a Grand Deluxe Room at The Peninsula than save a bit on a Historic Tower King at the InterContinental (the price for the former is under market value based on its swanky amenities, while the price for the latter has been significantly inflated). Unlike services that offer algorithmically generated hotel ratings – Hipmunk for instance – The Suitest's search compares and contrasts rooms based on a variety of information and gives you one overall score rather than offer rankings in different categories.
The Suitest has 10,000 rooms in America's 30 biggest cities in its database and more are coming every day. But as daunting as that amount of information may be, the rankings on the site remain incredibly simple and clean. Murphy says he sees The Suitest as an antidote to the maddening chaos travelers are forced to deal with on sites like Expedia.
"We can keep it clean, because we do coldhearted calculations," he explains. "We're not pushing product, just making rational judgments."
The site's scientific approach puts it in a league with other services like SeatGuru, which offers an overall comfort rating for flights, and SeatGeek, which compares event tickets, that give consumers insight into relative pricing, allowing them to splurge or save intelligently. And yes, Murphy's site can put a price on a view of the sea. In the luxury hotels near The Suitest's Los Angeles offices, the ocean goes for up to $285 per summer night – but can be had for free if you know how to look.
More information: Go to thesuitest.com and navigate by your priorities.