“ Worldwide hotel booking website „
I only wish I'd read these online reviews before losing my money. Venere.com gets abysmal performance reviews, but when surfing various travel and hotel booking sites, they are so ubiquitous that it never occurred to me to check them out before using their service. Shame on me.
When I recently planned a trip to New Zealand in July, I checked some hotel ratings on TripAdvisor, chose one, and several booking windows popped up. I selected the Venere window almost without thinking, quickly and easily booked my room, and didn't think a lot more about it.
Until I experienced an unavoidable change in my plans. That's when my whole Venere.com experience ran off the rails. I've been trying to contact the company for a MONTH now, utterly without success. Their toll-free phone number runs me through some menu options, then unceremoniously disconnects. Emails to their published customer service address go unacknowledged and unanswered.
I've written off my deposit and frankly have no expectations that I'll ever get any assistance from Venere.com. But I will certainly never waste my money there again, and you shouldn't either. There are far too many competing sites that offer the same service and will provide support to you, should you need it.
If you're planning a trip and booking everything yourself, rather than taking a package deal, how do you know if the places you are visiting are good or have hidden problems? When booking a package deal, at least you should be able to have a reasonable degree of confidence that the tour company is not going to include accommodation which reflects badly on its reputation. If they do, well, you always have recourse to complain and seek compensation.
There are a number of websites which specialise in enabling visitors who have personal experience of hotels, restaurants and so on, to report back their findings and rate these places. My first port of call has always been Tripadvisor, where I have never found any location we have visited having anything other than an accurate, representative general rating and no unrepresentative reviews.
Last year we fulfilled a long held desire to visit the Italian city of Florence. For whatever reason, when researching a suitable hotel in the city, I happened upon venere.com, which appears to be Italy's competitor to Tripadvisor. I discovered, through customer reviews on its webpages, a hotel that appeared to offer the sort of accommodation for which we were looking at the sort of prices we were prepared to pay. The reviews did not appear to suggest any serious cause for concern.
Like Tripadvisor, Venere offers the ability to book through its webpages and this is obviously where websites like this actually make their money. It would seem that there should be a conflict of interests here: would you allow uncomplimentary reviews to be posted on your website if you hope to make money booking customer reservations? In the case of Tripadvisor, though, I have never found this to be the case.
On this occasion we did book through Venere, for the hotel, although the flights we booked directly with EasyJet, to Pisa. The train travel between Pisa and Florence we left to be arranged on the journey. The booking process through the Venere website we found pretty straight-forward and before long we got a confirmation email that our booking had been accepted.
Our visit to Florence we mostly enjoyed although we did find the city didn't really live up to the hype you often hear about it. The hotel, however, was another matter. Had it been a longer visit than a long weekend we would have moved out and found ourselves another hotel. As it was, we complained and as a result were moved to a very slightly better room. If you want to read all about our experience, I have written a review here on Dooyoo of this accommodation.
I also posted a shorter version of my review to both the Tripadvisor and Venere websites. In neither case does the review get posted immediately: unlike Dooyoo, which picks up and removes abusive reviews after they have been posted, Tripadvisor and Venere moderate submitted reviews before they appear on the website.
After a couple of days I got an email from Tripadvisor advising me that my review now appeared on the website; it appeared unedited, just as I had written it. I heard nothing from Venere. I waited a couple of weeks but when I still hadn't heard anything I contacted Venere to find out when my review would appear. Eventually I got a reply from them stating that they had decided not to allow my review to appear; they gave no reason.
I can only conclude that because my review was critical of the accommodation, Venere must have decided that it might affect their relations with the hotel. What other reason could there be? You can judge for yourself whether or not my review was unreasonable as you can read it at Tripadvisor.
So, I suggest that if you are looking for suitable accommodation for a holiday and are looking at the information provided on the Venere website, especially the user reviews, that you consider that that may not be the whole story and that there may have been a certain amount of "massaging". It could be advisable to check other review sites as well, even/especially if the Venere reviews seem positive. It would do no harm. You may be able to avoid an unfortunate outcome such as we experienced.
For myself, I shan't be using Venere ever again.
Venere.com is an online hotel booking site that acts as an agent between a wide variety of accommodation and the customer. You use the site to find hotels, B&Bs and self catering apartments and can then book online or by phone.
I know a previous reviewer had a terrible experience using the phone option so I wanted to let people know how the online booking compares.
I've used it on a number of occasions - probably double figures - and I've always found it to be reliable and reasonably fast and the accommodation I've booked has always been as described or better.
When you key in the area or town in which you want to stay, you also give the dates that you want to stay, the number of guests and the number of rooms you want. You are then given a list of options that can be ordered according to price, star rating, guest rating or best selling. Useful if, like me, you are on a budget. The good thing about this is that the list only includes accommodation that is still available for the dates you've given so you don't waste time investigating hotels that are fully booked.
The options list gives you the lowest priced room available. When you click through to further information, you might be given further options. Again, I find this useful because the more expensive price sometimes includes things that you wouldn't have thought to specify. You'll also be given information about what is included in the price, such as breakfast and local taxes. This isn't always as clear as it could be; for example, it doesn't always make it clear whether breakfast is included even if it's listed as a B&B.
If you elect to book online, you give your personal details plus details of a credit/debit card. No money is taken from the card at this time, and it doesn't even have to be the card you plan to pay on. However, if you default on the booking, they will then use the details to charge for the first night's booking. Cancellation terms are quite generous however - generally as long as you cancel at least 24 hours beforehand, there is no forfeit. Again though, you have to check the small print for the individual accommodation.
Confirmation of the booking is sent to your email address almost instantly. Remember that you still haven't paid for the room; you still need to have a credit/debit card or cash with you when you turn up.
I've found that prices on Venere are often slightly lower than those quoted on the accommodation's own website, presumably because they pick up on last minute offers.
All in all then, it's a site I would recommend but, judging from the other reviewer, I'd say only use it if you are happy to book online rather than choosing the phone option.
I found this website by accident, one might say 'mistake', because using it proved to be a complete nightmare.
Venere is a website for booking hotels. When you first log on there is a handy toolbar at the top of the page for typing in your chosen destination and the dates between which you want to travel. It will search worldwide, but the map only shows you Europe and USA. Clicking on a city on the map also gets you to the same place as using the toolbar - a list of hotels available with photos, location, hotel reviews, a score out of ten and the cost per night. These are 'prices from' costs, so be prepared for the price to change when you click on the hotel you are interested in. Prices are shown in local currency but can be converted to GBP.
When you select a hotel you are taken to a new window which shows you availability and usually offers you a choice of rooms. You can then book online or over the phone. As I was booking a room for a friend and she was going to pay for it I went for the book by phone option. Booking online would have meant paying on my credit card. So I phoned the number and got through to one of those call centres where I can only assume thousands of people work. I assume this because I had to call them several times and never spoke to the same person twice.
The call centre was the nightmare part of the whole Venere experience. To book my chosen hotel I had to answer a lot of questions, even though the booking was not going to be in my name she took all my details including, she insisted, my credit card details. I had to go through the process of waiting while she found the hotel on her system, and then answering questions about dates and rooms of course. I expect this, I don't expect it to take sooooo long that when she eventually gets to confirm the room her computer tells her it is no longer available.
So we search for another hotel in the area where my friend wants to stay, go through the whole process again only to be told the same thing on confirmation, my hotel room is no longer available. After the third time this happens I give up.
I went to Booking.com found the original hotel room I wanted, it was showing as available, I booked it with them, over the phone, and everything was fine. Five minutes later I got a booking confirmation from Venere via email to confirm my booking in that very same hotel where they told me there was no availability. So I had to phone the hotel direct and cancel it as I then had two rooms booked in the same name! Nightmare.
As a website, it is useful for finding locations and gives you good information about your chosen hotel. However, don't rely on the ratings, use TripAdvisor instead. And definately don't try booking over the phone.