Subject: Re: Online hotel booking sites
Hi Barbara, A friend of mine who happens to manage the Asia region for hotels.com is not going to be happy with me for saying this but....I think it's important to note.

Last Xmas we found out, the hard way, that many hotels in Greece (especially the islands) are closed in the winter. Doing my pre-trip research, I eliminated some great looking hotels one by one as I looked up their websites and finally narrowed our search down to about 3 in one particular place. I contacted them all individually, asking if they had a vacancy and 2 out of 3 got back to me with apologies - no room at the inn on Christmas Day! So...in desparation - I decided to do what is usually our last resort and went to some hotel booking sites. One I have used quite successfully before was asiahotels.com (which now has a European/NA side to it) but I decided to contrast their prices for European hotels with my friend's company: hotels.com (which actually now owns Expedia). They seemed cheaper so I checked various places and found a few that looked promising (including the one that hadn't replied to my direct email).

Hotels.com does have a way of telling you if the hotel is accepting reservations (ie. open or closed) and this one certainly appeared to be open. I booked the room and received a preliminary confirmation with a note saying that a final confirmation would be forthcoming by email.

Well - their final confirmation came back at the same time as a response from the same hotel saying that they were sorry - they were closed until March!!! My husband actually emailed them back and told them that we'd rec'd. confirmation of our reservation from Hotels.com - were they really closed .... and they replied that they were definitely closed.

Imagine if we had arrived Christmas Eve and found out that was the case!!! All I received from hotels.com in reply to my complaint was an auto-response thanking me for my comments!

So....booker-beware!

Cheers! Judy in Hong Kong