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Wonderful website for Italian hotels

Old Mar 12th, 2003, 06:27 AM
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Wonderful website for Italian hotels

I've just completed booking several hotels for our Italy trip next September/October. Did most of them through a website called italyby.com. I found it wonderful. Has great pictures, not just one per hotel but sometimes 20 or more so you can really get a feel for each place. They are also very specific about room types, bed types, and rates for variations. Their booking page is set up to permit you to book several rooms for larger groups with differences among the rooms. And best of all, they are very prompt about responding to requests. They book hotels and even agritourismo places and you can search by type of lodging as well as by area. The only thing I don't recall is whether they permit searching by price but I doubt it. Otherwise, I found them really great to use.
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Old Mar 12th, 2003, 07:38 AM
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rex
 
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Glad to hear of your enthusiasm - - but to be balanced (unless I am mistaken), shouldn't there be some mention of their rather UNforgiving cancellation policy?

It seems to me that it amounts to essentially the same as a booking fee.

Best wishes,

Rex
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Old Mar 12th, 2003, 08:08 AM
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Thanks for the heads up. Not to defend this site at all costs, but cancellation fees vary by individual accommodation and are plainly indicated on the site and one your reservation response. With a couple of exceptions they did not seem unreasonable.

Rex, have you used this site and had problems? I certainly hope not since I've just booked 6 different places with them.
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Old Mar 12th, 2003, 08:21 AM
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It's a lovely site on which to browse, but I've found their prices significantly higher than booking directly with the hotels listed.

Which is typical of nearly all hotel booking sites that do not specifically offer discounts, in my experience.
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Old Mar 12th, 2003, 08:49 AM
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Ditto was Lesli wrote - often significant price difference and most have their own sites. The photos are very lovely and helpful, but beware of rooms shot with fisheye lens = very small space.
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Old Mar 13th, 2003, 06:31 AM
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We have booked a hotel in florence through them. The price was the same hotel websites. Actually the Request reservations and availablity - puts you in direct contact with the owners.

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Old Mar 13th, 2003, 07:59 AM
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I guess I am opposed to ANY cancellation penalty that canNOT be avoided, no matter how far in advance you cancel. To me, that is a non-refundable booking fee.
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Old Mar 13th, 2003, 08:10 AM
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I found the prices to be the same at Italyby as the individual hotel websites listed but less expensive than dealing direct with an individual hotel.

This makes me curious. As long-distance phone rates are now so low, why do so few seem to use that route? We have usually found the lowest room rates to be obtained by the direct phone call method ad you get to establish preferences for location, view etc. I am just way out of sync?
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Old Mar 13th, 2003, 10:46 AM
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Cancellation policies that require an advance notice of at least _________ days (you fill in the blank) are a reasonable practice in the industry and do not constitute "non-refundable booking fee's". Just wanted to clarify this for some folks.
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Old Mar 13th, 2003, 12:00 PM
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LJ -

You're not at all out of synch! Whether there's a difference in the rates listed on this bookign site and the hotel's own site or not seems to vary by individual hotel.

But I agree with you 100% that contacting the hotel directly (via e-mail or phone) nearly always results in lower rates. Even if not, it allows you to establish a relationship directly with hotel staff and make specific requests with them. I said as much on a similar thread just yesterday:

http://fodors.com/forums/pgMessages....l&tid=34406366
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Old Mar 13th, 2003, 12:48 PM
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JmVikmanis: out of curiosity, can I ask if you have booked your air tix for this trip yet? We are planning to go over the beginning of October. I know it's still kind of early to get them on sale for that month. Can I ask where you are flying from and how much you paid, where you purchased from?
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Old Mar 13th, 2003, 12:54 PM
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I agree that contacting a hotel directly has always seemed best to me.
I have always gotten from the hotels the lowest rates seen elsewhere, and as Lesli says, I feel confident that the hotel knows me as their client, I feel better about asking them for special requests.

However, even the most stringent hotel rules usually allow a full refund with no penalty if you give them X days notice, even as much as two weeks.
Having no leeway to cancel or change hotel bookings without penalty would never be worth it to me.
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Old Mar 13th, 2003, 01:49 PM
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<<Cancellation policies that require an advance notice of at least _________ days (you fill in the blank) are a reasonable practice in the industry and do not constitute "non-refundable booking fee's". >>

I agree with you on this.

It was my understanding that italyby/etc (romeby, veniceby, etc) charge a $25 cancellation fee even if you book 100 days in advance and want to cancel the next day (i.e., 99 days in advance). To me, that's a non-refundable booking fee.
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Old Mar 14th, 2003, 05:03 AM
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I think these worldby sites (www.worldby.com) put you in touch directly with the hotel. Cancelenciton and deposits vary with the hotel and I think they are the same if you went through the hotel direct some are 48 hours some are 31 days?
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Old Mar 14th, 2003, 08:46 AM
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beckyonbeck, We always make a fall trip on frequent flyer miles and book 6 to 9 months in advance. sorry, I can't be any help on prices for flights in Sept. and October.

I stand by my initial post on this site. One of the places has a significant lead time on cancellation but the rest are pretty standard. I also contacted some of the hotel directly and got identical rate quotes. Booked one hotel through initaly.com and have already been required to pay a 20% deposit nonrefundable by credit card. I think Italyby is wonderful to work with, and has great places.
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Old Mar 14th, 2003, 09:00 AM
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I was throwing up a caution based on my single attempt to reserve a hotel in Florence from this company in 2001.

Your recommendation is made all the more solid by your steadfastly standing behind it, jmv...

I hope you understood that I was not attacking you, nor challenging the validity of your positive experiences.
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Old Mar 14th, 2003, 10:40 AM
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Res, I understand and appreciate your warning. I think it's a matter of what the true facts are based upon multiple experiences--as befits the recent poster inquiring about veracity of info on this site. In this case, it's not a matter of is Hotel Flora near San Marco or San Paolo and what are its rates, but rather what is the collective experience with a specific company offering services. The more info the better. I promise to report back if my positive experience with Italyby.com so far proves bad in the reality of our trip--of if it remains as good as it's been so far.

And to the person who suggested just calling, I'm with you--whenever I expect to be able to get an English speaker at the other end of the line. But it is also nice to be able to make an inquiry in our time and get their response at a time convenient for them. I've done it both ways and both work. This site was simply as close as I've gotten by internet to phone call and response and with none of the potential language problems.
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