Thursday, August 25, 2011

Hotels.com in trouble?

Historic Hotel Park in Bergen is always fully booked, according to hotels.com.                                Photo: Hotel website 
In recent days there has been focus on hotel booking sites on the net, and in particular hotels.com. Who or what party does hotel booking sites represent, affiliated hotels, the customer, or merely themselves? These are questions sites like hotels.com should ask, as stories told in the press lately are on loosers, i.e. connected hotels and customers.

I personally do not use hotels.com. There are several reasons for that. The most important is that the site charge your credit card when booking, not after you have stayed in the hotel. The press story disclose, however, that the hotels, get their money after you have stayed there, but hotels.com in the meantime get the interest on your money.

I recommend those sites that does not charge your card on booking as venere.com, booking.com, and hrs.de, but beware that hotels may charge your card directly if you are offered a special deal. When offered a deal, you may also loose the right to get your money back if you decide to cancel your booking.

Another problem with hotels.com is a definite problem for them. It may seem that the site has a cooperation with hotels, when they in reality has none. Hotel Park in Bergen reported that they were listed with hotels.com, even though they were not afilliated to the site. Hotels.com also informed those looking for accommodation that all rooms in Hotel Park were fully booked, when there in reality were vancant rooms. The little hotel wondered how all this had affected their business.

Want to check availability at Hotell Park? Go directly to the official website.

Then they presented the case of the Grimsmo family that had booked a room for one night at Acadia in  Antibes at hotels.com. Arriving late, they discovered that, in spite of a confirmation from hotels.com, all rooms were booked. The hotels in question did not even have any affiliation with hotels.com. The staff at Hotel Acadia did stretch their hospitality and offered the Grimsmo one double room with extra beds to sleep all of them.

Latest: I have tried to book room at Hotel Acadia, but the hotel seems to have been removed from hotels.com.

Stories like these do not strengthen the industry’s credibility, even though they may be just exceptions. Hotels.com should, however, inform travelers, which hotels they represent and remove those not affiliated with the site.The fact that hotels.com even profit from payment for a service that has not given and may even be cancelled is highly questionable.

No! Follow the advise from another experienced traveler. Use the booking sites to check the hotel, but check how much you will have to pay if booking at the hotel website. You may save money and unpleasant surprises. Do ask for a written confirmation to be sent your e-mailadress.

Have a great stay!!

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