Vibeagent drops mask: Hotelicopter – I feel Fooled

helicopter-crash
Helicopter Crash. Photo by Tidewatermuse

In a Press Release dated April 9, 2009 Hotelicopter is presented as a “New” Totally Awesome Hotel Search Engine after “The Hotelicopter had attracted wide media coverage with its April Fools Prank”

Almost everybody in Bloggistan loves the way Hotelicopter was launched as an April Fools prank and then turns out as a hotel booking engine. “Good marketing” they say. I beg to differ.

Although I can appreciate a good joke or to be fooled and certainly can laugh about myself, I feel fooled by Vibe Agent in another way:

First the search engine is not at all new. Basically it is the same search engine as it was three days ago under the name VibeAgent.

Secondly I have been involved as a very active “beta tester” in the building of VibeAgent. I’ve posted two posts about it here and here and referred to it in many other posts.

I wrote:

It is meant to be a community that shares hotel reviews on the one hand and combines that with best price searching on the other hand.

The members are called Agents. They write the reviews. They are unpaid.

VibeAgent has teamed up with an impressive list of travel and hotel portals at the back end, like Price Line, Booking.com and many others.

So: It started out as a community driven hotel search engine. As a sort of mini Tripadvisor, but a bit more advanced. In the meantime Tripadvisor has overhauled its website entirely and became part of Expedia.

Now with this repackaging of the site as Hotelicopter VibeAgent has wiped away its entire own community.

Where are your approximately 5,000 plus Agents, Adam?

Was that part of the deal with TripAdvisor? You being able to show Tripadvisor reviews provided you did away with your own base of hotel reviews?

I’m not amused and I believe many with me.

Update April 9 16.00 hr (04.00PM) local time:

Again this is a matter of lack of communication: See the comments below. Feeling a bit better now.

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9 Responses to Vibeagent drops mask: Hotelicopter – I feel Fooled

  1. Hi Guido,

    I feel a bit the same Guido. But I am sure Adam is preparing something to please us all and retrieve the community aspect that it lacks on the current hotel search engine.

    Adam, come forward please. Explain what have you done with the agents community. Where will I submit my reviews now?

    Guillaume

  2. Guido,

    Thanks for your post on hotelicopter.

    First let me say that I’m sorry you feel “fooled”. I hope that after reading this comment you will feel differently.

    We did send out several emails to our users in advance of this change informing them of the situation. And the situation is this – we are upgrading our review platform, and in the meantime, user reviews will not be visible on hotelicopter. However, we did state in the email, and I’ll do it again here, that if for some reason you would like to have access to your hotel reviews while we upgrade our review platform, you can email us at reviews@hotelicopter.com and we will send them to you in a .txt file.

    I assure you that it is indeed our focus on best serving our “community”, and we made the decision to migrate over to the facebook platform for our user system and relaunch a new and improved review platform, which will happen soon, and which will feature the reviews you have already written and an easier way to continue sharing them with your friends and our community.

    I hope that you will check out hotelicopter.com and see that it is a lot more than simply a new face for our search engine – that there are many features that are fundamentally improved based on the great feedback we continue to receive from our users, like yourself, over the last few years.

    I also would like to send you a new hotelicopter t-shirt for any inconvenience you feel we may have caused you – just send me your size and mailing address and I’ll pop one in the mail to you.

    All the best,

    Adam
    hotelicopter CEO

  3. Hi Adam,
    While you were writing your comment I was commenting to Guillaume.
    Glad you took the time to explain this.
    You should communicate this on the copter site!!!!
    I at least missed the e-mail and Guillaume apparently as well.
    Yes, I feel better now.
    No I don’t want to divulge my size and don’t wear T-Shirts.
    You can make my day by sending your answers:-)

  4. Guido,

    I appreciate the feedback – it’s true that we could have done a better job of communicating the review issue.

    For now, there’s a brief explanation here: hotelicopter.com/help and we’re linking to this page for people visiting http://www.vibeagent.com.

    We’ll also send out another email shortly to all our users further clarifying the situation. Thanks again for being passionate – passion is good! :-)

    Cheers,

    Adam

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