TVtrip.com, a website providing detailed information about hotels, has raised €3.5 million ($4.8 million) in a first round of financing.
The site caters only to European hotels for now. It offers a search engine for hotels; then, for each listing, if offers videos of rooms, ratings, a summary of amenities and maps of surrounding areas.
This service is so obviously useful, as we noted when it launched last month. Finding decent hotel rooms can be a painful experience — at least if you’re booking a vacation on a budget. Competitor Trivop, meanwhile, has raised €600,000 from European angels, and is also focused on Europe.
The TVTrip funding comes from Balderton Capital and Partech International.
The company covers 10 major European cities including London, Paris, Madrid, Rome and Berlin. It will soon add Lisbon, Prague and Venice. By the end of 2007, TVtrip.com said, it will cover more than 1,500 hotels in 50 cities.
The site is available in five languages: English, French, German, Italian and Spanish.
To become truly useful, the site does have more room to go. The site does give you a price selector tool, in the form of a slider that lets you filter for hotels listed below a certain price. But its not clear where the prices are coming from. Right now, if you want to check rates and book rooms, it ushers you off to partners such as Booking.com, Expedia and Venere — and it provides no clear explanation for why it sends you to one or the other service. You’re left wondering if you really have the best price for that hotel available on the Web. For now, its best left as a useful research tool when you’ve already got a short list.