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Has anyone done anything like this?
Yes i know of people who have done this.
First of all you'll need to make an arrangement with the hotels.
Second, you'll need to find someone to do a little perl/cgi type of work if you want to get more technical then just a form2mail script although a form2mail script will work, it will just take a lot of time to follow up.
What you are looking to do with hotel rooms is about the same as going to your corner merchant and offering to sell his goods online for a commission which has proven to be very successsful for many people as well as being beneficial to all parties.
Give it a shot as I think if you have a good travel site, this would be a great fit while offering your visitors a little something different than the next site.
1) email them via a form about the availability of rooms. simple mail form.
2) like you said get some custom cgi or php script where there can be a tracking number for each request, and confirmation system if a room has been paid for. if you have any details for this option please pass them along.
another factor would be the hotel's honesty since there’s no way to verify if a room was actually paid for.
thanks eljefe3 :)