Actually I’m proud of my Zen series of posts. It describes from time to time how much effort it takes me to find a nice last minute hotel room. I consider myself reasonably knowledgeable about hotels and enough of a geek to find a cool hotel room via internet. But each time I am asked to find somebody a cool hotel, I find it becoming more difficult to find something special at a reasonable price via internet. It demonstrates to me time after time that the internet is not such a nice tool as everyone, including travel marketeers wants us to believe. To me these exercises demonstrate time after time again the Hospitality- and Destination marketing industry still has waaaay to go before they “get it”.
This time my unfortunate dance partner “Dancegirl” asked me to find her a nice hotel in or around Maastricht for tomorrow. As Asuncion Day is a Dutch Bank Holiday and the weather is nice, this is even more difficult, as there will be not many vacancies in and around Maastricht tomorrow.
So, actually the “Zen” tag is sometimes more of an euphemism for a good old rant….
This time my first search was on Hotelicopter. Please note it is spelled with one ‘l’ in the middle – just wondering why they didn’t scoop up the hotellicopter domain.
Recently I ranted really about them.
They rate the Maastricht Kruisherenhotel as the best of their Maastricht portfolio. That goes without saying, because I know, as my own review of the Kruisherenhotel on their site is a raving one. Only Dancegirl won’t be able or willing to pay their rate.
My rant about Hotelicopter is still valid: Despite Adam Healey promising me that “their own” – I mean their community’s, more precisely “our” reviews – which they hid when they relabeled themselves from VibeAgent into Hotelicopter, will be back soon, you still cannot check those reviews on their site. How long do we have to wait, Adam?
On a positive note: Their search machine doesn’t confine itself to an area within country boundaries. Especially important in the case of Maastricht as it is located near our borders with Germany and Belgium.
On a negative note: they didn’t catch the euro 150 no refund St Gerlach offer described here below.
I looked at Tripadvisor with and without availability search and it didn’t come up with something interesting quickly enough.
I looked at Booking.com, but got lost in the preferred position of various big chain hotels.
Then I looked at my favorite Dutch Hoteliers site. Already my favorite because I use them as a white label online booking engine for my Haagsche Suites (and consequently am always featured on their home page as the second best guest rated hotel of their portfolio in The Netherlands), but also because the site is easy to use. Their model is a fee based one. Nothing commissions from the hotels. They came up with a non refundable offer from St Gerlach, owned by the same owner as the kruisherenhotel and they happen to be a member of the same small chain of Historic Hotels of the Benelux we’re a member of.
In the meantime, via Twitter, I got two suggestions from twitter followers:
One very funny one from Patrick Geoff twittering as @HotelDesigns who suggested Haagsche Suites and referred to his own kind review. He wasn’t aware that my search was was for Dancegirl She actually does know Haagsche Suites by heart, as she replaces us in minding the guests occasionally. Some guests even prefer her minding them over this old goat:-).
The second suggestion came from Hotel Calculator. They did come up with the same St Gerlach offer, but now via Agoda. Hotel Calculator quoted Euro 154, but when you landed on Agoda, the price reduced by a sort of refund policy of Agoda… When I asked Hotel calculator about the difference, he answered that it probably is due to exchange rate imparities in the scraping process.
Agoda being the same OTA that Hotelicopter came up with, this also shows that not all meta search engines are equal. In an earlier post I commented that there was apparently a lag between Hotelicopter’s availability and Agoda’s availability. Hotel calculater claims their engine scrapes real time….
As Dancegirl liked this offer and booked it, this ends as a bit less time consuming and more zen alike post:-)
I’ll keep your posted about Dancegirl’s verdict of the St Gerlach.