Is Venere.com a waste of webspace?

9 August 2012

bedroomThe travel website business is all over the place at the minute. What with booking.com and Expedia being investigated by the OFT for breaches of competition law by getting into bed (geddit) with Intercontinental Hotels, who could blame consumers for looking further afield for travel bookings. Even if they find a website that sounds like some kind of weird sexually transmitted disease.

Italian owned venere.com seems, on first glance to be another handy hotel booking site. You can browse properties in your desired area, find it on a map, and see customer ratings and book directly through venere. As a huge benefit, you don’t even have to pay upfront, but can settle up directly with the hotelier when you leave.

However, as most things that sound too good to be true actually prove to be too good to be true, we have discovered that venere.com isn’t actually a hotel booking site at all.

Avid bitterwallet reader John contacted us after he’d got into a spot of bother with his venere.com reservation. You see, John had booked a certain number of nights in his chosen hotel, and had received email confirmation of the booking from venere.com. That email confirmed the total price to pay on departure, and that the booking was non-refundable now made. The hotel, however, had vastly different booking details.

It being the summer season, the hotel were fully booked. John and his family looked like they would be turned away, but eventually the hotel were able to squash them into a smaller sized apartment for the missing nights. John was understandably unamused with this situation, but the hotel were adamant they had only received the shorter booking in John’s name.

On his return to the UK, John contacted venere.com to inform them of the mistake and to enquire how this had happened. After all, he had an unequivocal confirmation from venere.com of his proper booking. He received no response. After a number of further emails, John was eventually sent a cover-all email that had absolutely no reference to his personal situation.

What this email did say, however, was that “only the properties have access to the reservation requests they receive through Venere.com … The role of Venere.com is to create a direct contact between Venere customers and properties. (Bitterwallet’s emphasis)

So venere.com does not actually book rooms on your behalf, it merely requests the rooms from the hotelier. Sometimes incorrectly so. Presumably then, the confirmations issued by venere.com are a confirmation of request, rather than a confirmation of booking. Which is entirely not the same thing.

We investigated further and found that the room rates offered by venere.com are of limited supply, but that once those rates are ‘sold out’, you can still find them cheaper on competitors’ websites, or even directly with the hotel. Travel forum discussions we found on the web suggested that venere.com customers also emailed the hotel after receiving their venere.com ‘confirmation’ to ensure the booking had been made and that the details were correct.

So. If Venere.com do not guarantee your room booking, may not offer the best rate and you are advised to contact the hotel about your booking, why on Earth would you want to use them? We could not think of a suitable answer so we contacted venere.com to ask them.

We put it to venere.com that “there is no point booking through your website as you are merely an introduction service and customers would need to check the booking has been received by the hotel anyway, meaning they may as well book through the hotel” directly.  They had nothing to say.

Just saying.

TOPICS:   Travel

13 comments

  • GuyInaTux
    What a bunch of (Eyetie) cunts
  • ballogie
    Venere Net S.r.l. Via della Camilluccia, 693 - 00135 Rome-Italy (single shareholder) Under the direction and management of Hotels.com oh look http://www.expediainc.com/ there all in bed together ( geddit?)
  • ballogie
    it's all her fault.......... http://goo.gl/Gs5jL Micaela Zanarini
  • O D.
    Sam, you're seriously wasted on this site.
  • dunky
    I can google anything for anyone if they are willing to pay me..... Sounds like a business plan!
  • SP
    This is done in order to avoid the travel agent/tour operator license. The same applies with booking dot com which works as an "advertising website". By doing this they avoid the complicated legislation around europe and also they hold no responsibility in case something goes wrong!
  • RU4Real
    Holy fuck. Bitterwallet actually produced an article of genuine credit and use.
  • tastes b.
    Venere and Hotels.com are both owned by Expedia. Expedia are also under OFT investigation. Online Travel Agencies get up to 25% of what you pay if you book through them but as we see here, provide nothing to you as a consumer. Use them to find the lowest rate and then book directly with the hotel or with a bricks and morter travel agent. Hotels will be selling at the same rate at Booking or Expedia, that's what the OFT are objecting to.
  • Loafer1946
    These on-line websites are only useful to find what is available in the chosen area and the cost. Having found the hotel I want, I always book directly with the hotel's website, the rates are invariably the same.
  • Most B.
    [...] Is Venere.com a waste of webspace? What with booking.com and Expedia being investigated by the OFT for breaches of opposition regulation by getting into bed (geddit) with Intercontinental Accommodations, who could blame customers for hunting more afield for vacation bookings. Even if they find a … Read far more on Bitterwallet [...]
  • Jo
    I made the mistake once of booking through Venere and never again. Furthermore they keep on sending me all kinds of email spam that I can not get rid of! Pse help
  • Durant I.
    We've used both Venere and Booking.com over the years, and we've never had a problem. On a number of occasions, we've been upgraded to better rooms, possibly because the hotel managers know that consolidators and booking sites like Venere and Booking.com have ratings and reviews by paying guests on their Web sites. A smart hotel manager will know that, when a better room is going to be vacant for the night, it might as well be given to a guest who'll be thrilled and say good things about the hotel on Venere.com, Booking.com, or TripAdvisor.
  • constance r.
    As a hotelier I want to get off the booking site merry-go- round. They charge 15% commission and I spend my life CHASING AFTER in their incomplete information. Also unless you list all the rooms on your hotel, the average price displayed is incorrect. Better by far for the customer to book directly with the hotel. Throw off your chains! get free of the Expedia mafia!

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