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Comparing Venere to Expedia Orbitz & Travelocity for Italy hotels

Comparing Venere to Expedia Orbitz & Travelocity for Italy hotels

Old Feb 1st, 2005, 07:01 AM
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eab
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Comparing Venere to Expedia Orbitz & Travelocity for Italy hotels

Dear Fodorites,

We are going to Italy (Rome, Florence, Cinque Terre & Venice) at the end of March with 4 other couples. I had hoped to get help from a travel agent on booking, but the prices Iíve gotten back are about $200 per couple per day. Our group doesnít want to spend this much on hotels. I've researched Venere.com (thanks to the suggestions from this group!)and found some very acceptable looking 2-stars that are much closer to our price range (more like $150 - 180 per night in Rome for example).

Today I went on TripAdvisor & saw the ads for Expedia, Orbitz & Travelocity. Now I feel like Iím drowning in options and wondering when I will have time to research all these possibilities, not to mention comparing prices with what the hotels offer.

Iíve heard such good things about Venere.com that Iím wondering if I need to drive myself crazy investigating all these other options. Is there any advantage to booking with Venere over Expedia, etc?

Many thanks for your help!
Ellen
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Old Feb 1st, 2005, 07:10 AM
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Hi
My suggestion is to book directly with the hotels (after checking guest comments here and at tripadvisor)
Only once have I found a hotel that wasn't willing to honor an internet price that I had found elsewhere.
And that way you are the hotel's direct customer from the beginning, you don't have to pay up front if you don't want to, etc
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Old Feb 1st, 2005, 07:40 AM
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Thanks for your response Elaine. That makes good sense to me. We were in Italy two years ago & stayed in 4-star hotels that a travel agent found for us. It was a great experience -- no problems & the hotels were super -- but the dollar is so much weaker now & we're going after Easter, so we're going to try the 2-star route. I'm trying to brace myself for much more basic accommodations this time. Thanks so much for your advice!
Ellen
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Old Feb 1st, 2005, 07:50 AM
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PS
If you are still searching, for one Rome hotel check on the Parlamento here and at tripadvisor
I haven't stayed there, but it is a well-located hotel, and budget minded, and gets consistently good reviews
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Old Feb 1st, 2005, 07:54 AM
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I have used Venere.com on two different trips to Italy (Rome & Venice). I had great results with both and hotels were exactly as described. I tend to scrimp on hotel rooms (2-3 star)I liked venere for the descriptions and reviews of the hotels. I never thought to deal directly with the hotels once I had done the research but it does sound like a great idea. I would use Venere again. Good luck.
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Old Feb 1st, 2005, 08:13 AM
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Thanks Elaine & EEdwards for your responses! I've also read good things about Parlamento but Venere is showing that it's not available when we want to go. That's what we get for going to Rome the week after Holy Week! Ah, just Googled the name & found their Web site so I'll take your advice & contact them directly. Thanks again!
Ellen
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Old Feb 1st, 2005, 11:23 AM
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Although I agree it is a good idea to check with the hotel or book thru their website, I often save money on other discount sites.

I just returned from Florence and Rome. In Rome, CapoD'Africa offered me a room directly at 220/Euro per night and I booked thru Expedia on a prepaid rate of 179/nt USD including taxes and breakfast. The same room was 260 Euro on Venere which I like for the info but seldom for the prices.

In Florence, I booked the San Gallo Palace at a deep discount at hotelclub.net. I have also used their own site where prices change constantly and I found very good rates by continuing to check.

IME, you should select a hotel or 2 and then check prices everywhere. The differences are amazing!
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Old Feb 1st, 2005, 11:43 AM
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Dear Kfusto,
Wow, the difference you found with Expedia moves the Capo D'Africa from "too expensive" to "in our price range"! Sounds like it really is worth the time to check some of those other sites. I really expected the Venere rates to be comparable to the others, which just goes to show it never pays to assume!
Thanks,
Ellen
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Old Feb 1st, 2005, 11:44 AM
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I agree with kfusto. My experience in looking at Hotel Exedra in Rome was that for a double deluxe they quoted me 349 euros midweek and 399 euros for the weekend. This rate did not include VAT and having an extra person would tack an extra 80 euros/night on top. The expedia and travelocity rates quoted to me were in USD (good for our falling exchange rate) and came out to be really close to the euro rate, approximately 347 euros. In addition, the rate quoted was for double occupancy, saving 80 euros per night which is over $100/night. So shopping around is your best bet. A little leg work now will save you a lot in the end.
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Old Feb 1st, 2005, 11:53 AM
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eab: and the Capo D'Africa was a wonderful hotel! Not my favorite part of Rome but the metro and the tram made access easy when we tired of walking (or it rained or snowed).

The rooms were large, quiet and comfortable, the hotel itself elegant with great service.

And there was a newly opened Enoteca just around the corner with the most amazing wine by the glass list I have ever seen for great prices.

Good luck!
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Old Feb 1st, 2005, 11:54 AM
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Not from negative experience with Expedia, etc. but I have always booked my own hotels directly with their front desk by fax or on their own website. I may be fooling myself, but feel it gives a greater control of the situation than going thru a broker or travel agent.
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Old Feb 1st, 2005, 11:59 AM
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Thanks AceKing! This is really helpful. I don't mind doing the leg work if it means a substantial savings, and these stories are pretty convincing. I'm glad I asked before I just assumed that I should go with Venere. com.
Ellen
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Old Feb 1st, 2005, 12:25 PM
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About 40% of the time I book directly with the hotel (when I know the hotel and it's management), 25% of the time I book with a chain such as Best Western and I expecially like the Accor chain (Novetel, Mercure, Ibis) in Europe. The rest of the time I use Venere. I very much prefer Venere over Expedia, Orbitz etc because you have a good cancellation policy and you pay nothing up front as you do with Expedia and Orbitz. What's worse than paying a deposit up front, having to cancel and then get hassled about getting your deposit back?

Larry J
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Old Feb 1st, 2005, 12:40 PM
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I don't know if I was clear about asking a hotel to honor a cheaper rate found elsewhere. I don't mean relying on the rates published on their website or just asking them by email or phone what their rates are. I meant letting them know that I had found a cheaper rate elsewhere (expedia, whereever) and would they please honor it if I book directly with them. All but one have agreed immediately, no haggling.
I assume that they save on a booking agent fee.
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Old Feb 1st, 2005, 12:49 PM
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This discussion is so helpful.

Suze, I can understand what you mean about control -- I always book directly with hotels in the US -- just haven't had any experience doing that with Italian hotels, so I've been somewhat hesitant.

Larry, your point about Venere is a good one. I was beginning to wonder why people kept recommending Venere (except for the reviews of course) but we aren't crazy about paying in advance if we don't have to.

Thanks so much for all your help!
Ellen
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Old Feb 1st, 2005, 02:57 PM
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See my recent posts on pricing and venere on

http://www.fodors.com/forums/threads...2&tid=34560465

and

http://www.fodors.com/forums/threads...2&tid=34556215

The more rocks you look under, the more gems you find (sometimes)...

Best wishes,

Rex
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Old Feb 1st, 2005, 03:18 PM
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Check the websites for the various budget airlines (Ryanair,etc.)as most links for discount hotels often at better prices than you see on other websites.
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Old Feb 1st, 2005, 05:26 PM
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eab
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Thanks so much to all of you for sharing your experience & advice! I admit I'm a little overwhelmed by the number of rocks I need to look under (thanks Rex! but this discussion has really given me a better idea of how to proceed. I admit I'm impatient to get this hotel detail (albeit an important one) out of the way so I can spend my time planning the fun stuff -- what to see, do, eat & all that!
Many many thanks,
Ellen
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