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Expedia: Bad for the Traveler, Bad for the Hotel

Posted by Tony & Cheri on December 4, 2012

There is a lot of talk in the news these days about the difficulties facing small business owners around the world. Nowhere are these difficulties felt as deeply as in the travel industry. The rapid growth of the control of travel by big business with its multi-billion-dollar internet and advertising power has caused many small travel business owners to be pushed aside. As a result the consumer ends up with limited access to travel choices while the Mom and Pop hotel or tour or shop ends up on the brink of extinction. We know this firsthand, as we are one of those small businesses being unfairly crushed under the weight of travel industry giant Expedia. In fact we think Expedia is trying to put us, and small independent businesses like ours, out of business. And here’s why:

Expedia and its many affiliates, including Hotels.com and Venere.com, invite people to come to their sites to book our hotel, the Luna Blue Hotel in Playa del Carmen Mexico. Yet when people get to these websites they are told that our hotel is completely occupied for all dates now and in the future. If someone calls on the telephone, they are told that our hotel is going out of business! They are then directed to book another more expensive hotel, which provides Expedia greater commission. It seems that Expedia and its affiliates use small hotels like ours to attract people to their sites so they can get those people to book with bigger resorts. It is the classic “bait and switch” scam.

We think what Expedia is doing is completely outrageous, and we think you should know the whole story:

Living the Dream

Tony & Cheri owners of Luna Blue Hotel in Playa del Carmen MexicoSome years ago we fell in love with Mexico’s Caribbean coast. We left our home, quit our jobs and headed south. We had scrimped and saved and put our entire life savings into buying a small, rundown backpacker hotel in Playa del Carmen. It wasn’t anything fancy. It wasn’t a part of some chain or franchise. It was 18 rooms and a garden on a side street a few blocks from the beach. But it was now ours, and we loved it.

The plan was to turn this property into our vision of a slice of paradise and to live the good life as innkeepers on the Caribbean Sea. That’s what happened…for a while. And not to toot our own horns, but we were a success. We won some awards, received great reviews and filled our rooms. We renamed it the Luna Blue Hotel, and we’re quite proud of what it has become.

It wasn’t always smooth sailing of course. The swine flu scare and the hysteria over central Mexico’s drug wars really did some damage to tourism in this part of the world. But we held on and weathered the rough spots. We weren’t going to give up. This was not just our life…it was our dream. We put all of our money, time and heart into making it work. Then we made a mistake. We signed up with Expedia.

Expedia

If you are not already familiar with Expedia let us give you some background. Expedia, Inc. is the world’s largest online travel agency. People can use their various websites (and they have many affiliated companies) to book a room, a flight or a complete travel package. The company now operates in 60 countries around the world. When you want to know what we mean when we talk about the “Big Business” of travel, just look at Expedia. Besides Expedia.com, Hotels.com, Hotwire and Venere, Expedia also owns Egencia (the world’s fifth largest corporate travel company), eLong (China’s second largest online travel company); Expedia Local Expert (an online concierge company in 18 markets worldwide), Classic Vacations (a leading luxury travel specialist) and much more. It also has tight corporate ties to industry giants Ticketmaster and TripAdvisor.

Expedia has an office in Cancun and offers its services to the hotels along the Riviera Maya where we live. A year ago we were visited by the Expedia Market Manager for this area, Javier Polanco. Expedia, he told us, could help us recover some of the business we had lost in the lean years. It wasn’t cheap, as Expedia takes 25 % of every booking made through their sites–a fact that hotels are forbidden by Expedia to disclose to guests.   But we figured that if it brought us more business it would be worth it. So…we signed on the dotted line and became “partners” with Expedia. However we soon discovered that Expedia had a different vision of a partnership than we did.

“That’s Not the Room we Reserved!”

Almost immediately we began to have trouble with our new “partners.” As requested, we provided Expedia with a long, detailed list describing our rooms, amenities and property to use on their website. Yet that list was completely ignored by Expedia when putting together a profile of our hotel. Many of the descriptions of our hotel and rooms Expedia posted were completely wrong. We repeatedly emailed the “content department,” which was in charge of the website details, asking them to make the changes necessary to correct the problems.  However the response to our emails was almost non-existent.

As the months passed, every so often someone in the content department would rewrite our Expedia listing to correct one inaccuracy and in the process add several new problems. More often than not they simply ignored us. As a result, guests would arrive at our hotel having made a reservation through Expedia or Hotels.com and find the room they reserved to be nothing like the erroneous description on Expedia’s website. Sometimes the guest would roll with the punches and accept there had been a problem with Expedia’s site. However other times the guests were angry and demanded an upgrade, or would even leave the hotel.

While this greatly affected our hotel’s reputation, Expedia didn’t seem to care. We began to realize that our “partner” Expedia operated on a mass production scale: Their policy seemed to be keep the inventory of available rooms high enough from a large number of hotels, and the monetary return would compensate for growing customer dissatisfaction over a lack of service.

Our Rooms Suddenly Disappear from Expedia

fightexpediablog3Eventually our Expedia Market Manager Javier Polanco was promoted. All that inventory the big hotels were loading must have reflected well on him. We were told that there was a new Market Manager in Cancun, Judith Monroy. We thought that maybe with a new representative at Expedia things might change for us. And we were right; they did change. They got worse.

One day we noticed our Expedia bookings had suddenly stopped. We went to Expedia’s site and saw the problem right away. The links on our Expedia and Hotels.com pages were broken. The pictures and descriptions of our hotel rooms were gone. They used to be incorrect, but now they had vanished completely! No wonder people stopped booking our hotel through these websites. Potential guests could not find information about our rooms or see what they looked like, and so they quickly moved on and reserved at other hotels. Our bookings came to an abrupt halt. We called Judith. Then we e-mailed her. Then we called again. There was no response whatsoever for weeks. The only response we received was a boilerplate email from Judith telling us to load more inventory!

“It Won’t EVER be Fixed”

Finally we were told the problem had been reported to the Content department. Two weeks later we were told the problem was an IT problem and that the IT department had been notified. All this time our pages remained broken. We kept asking, “What is the point of being on Expedia if no one can see our rooms?” We were told there was a system-wide bug and that many hotels were affected (we found out later this wasn’t true) and that the problem would be fixed…in one month. We waited.

Of course, one month came and went and our Expedia pages were still not working. This time we called Javier, who emphatically told us that the page would never be fixed, and that the links would always be broken. Then he laughed and said that it wasn’t his problem. We told him we were tired of the lies and the stalling and we demanded some sort of helpful response.

If You Complain…We’ll Cut You Off

In response to our demand that Expedia help us, we received an e-mail from Pablo Castro, Javier and Judith’s boss and the Manager for Expedia’s Latin America-based hotels. Pablo wrote to tell us he was going to disable our page at Javier’s request because of our bad attitude but that if we would like to meet with him in Cancun perhaps we could resolve the situation. We wrote back immediately to say we would like very much to meet with him, and asked him to name the time and place. We waited for a response. And waited. And waited. We wrote a second time asking when and where we should meet. Pablo never responded to us and never met with us. To this day we’ve never heard another word from him.

We wondered how long we would stay in business if we treated people like Expedia was treating us. Imagine if a guest checked into our hotel and found that the toilet didn’t work or that the bed was missing and we responded by telling him he had to leave the hotel because he was complaining. Is that really how people in the travel business should act? We certainly don’t think so.

Things Get Better…and Then Much Worse

We thought our time with Expedia had come to an end—and that was okay with us—when suddenly we started getting a flood of reservations from them. What the heck was happening? We went to the Expedia site and couldn’t believe it…the page was fixed and working. After all the months of having it broken, after being told it could never be fixed, after being threatened with expulsion from Expedia for complaining about lack of service, the page was back up and working.

But Expedia wasn’t done punishing us yet. Within a few days we received an e-mail from a guest with a reservation booked through Hotels.com. Why, the woman wanted to know, had we cancelled her reservation? We hadn’t. Judith had! Without our knowledge or consent, our Expedia Market Manager cancelled ALL of our existing Expedia reservations, including ones people had made months before, telling the guests that their reservations were being cancelled because we had no available rooms. This was of course not true.

Expedia Says the Luna Blue has No Availability…Ever

fightexpediablog2Instead of leaving our page up and finally working, or even disabling or removing our hotel’s Expedia page as they had said they would do, the Cancun office did something much worse: They set our hotel page on Expedia’s website to show that we never had any availability for any room at any time. What this meant was anytime anyone looked at our hotel on Expedia, Hotels.com or Venere.com they saw a message saying there was no availability for the requested dates. Any dates. Ever!

You have to understand Expedia’s reach and power to know how bad this can be for a small hotel like ours. Expedia has agreements throughout the world and all over the internet to have travel sites link to their main page. If you click to see the Luna Blue Hotel rates and availability on Hotels.com, Venere.com, Lonelyplanet.com, Yahootravel.com, Travelpod.com, Holidaywatchdog.com, Trivago.com, Cleartrip.com and other similar sites you will be informed via link to Expedia that the Luna Blue Hotel has no availability ever, and it will suggest other more expensive hotels. So the lie manufactured by a couple of people in Expedia’s Cancun office is now spread across the internet. Throughout the web, Expedia is telling people they can’t get a room at the Luna Blue, so those people look elsewhere. You don’t have to be an expert in the travel industry to know how incredibly damaging and unfair this is.

And while it may be unfair, it seems to be the standard operating procedure for Expedia. The country of France recently fined Expedia for this exact scam…telling people a hotel had no availability in order to get them to book with other more expensive properties: Expedia Hit With Major Fine in France Over Misleading Marketing. But apparently being fined wasn’t enough to make them stop this egregious behavior elsewhere.

Expedia Demands That We Pay Them to Relocate Our Guests to Other Hotels!

Not content to simply deny us reservations, Judith and the Cancun gang went further. A few days later we were contacted by Expedia’s Collections department and told we owed an exorbitant amount of money for “relocation fees.” Here’s how it works normally: an Expedia partner hotel agrees that if it cancels an Expedia generated reservation because the hotel cannot accommodate a guest, Expedia will then book the guest into another hotel in the area and charge any difference in cost to the original hotel. Judith, after secretly cancelling our reservations and telling the guests we had no room (a lie), was then booking the guests (our guests… people who wanted to stay at our hotel) into other bigger, more expensive hotels and then having Expedia bill us the cost–costs sometimes as much as three times what our room rates were! As you might imagine we were stunned and angry. Then it got even worse.

And Finally…Expedia’s Biggest Lie Yet

We saved the most outrageous for last.

After everything Expedia had done to block guests from making reservations at our hotel, some people still wouldn’t take no for an answer. Some guests figured, quite reasonably, that no hotel is 100% full for every day in the conceivable future. They wondered if there was a problem with Expedia’s page. So they called Expedia’s customer service telephone line to try and book at our hotel. Expedia then told those fine folks that “the Luna Blue Hotel is going out of business” and that’s why there were no rooms available there. We know this because the guests who were told this lie by Expedia then contacted us directly.

It seems that Expedia will stop at nothing to punish a small independent Mom and Pop hotel which had the audacity to ask to be treated fairly. And that’s how it stands today. Expedia refuses to acknowledge our calls and e-mails and refuses to either open up our Expedia page to reservations or take it down, but instead continues to spread the lies across the internet that we are going out of business and refusing to take reservations.

How Can a Small Business Protect Itself from the Dishonest Actions of a Goliath like Expedia?

fightexpediablog4In today’s world, a corporate Goliath like Expedia has way too much power to be worried about stones thrown by small business owners like us. We have done what we can to explore our options by talking with attorneys here in Mexico and in the US as well as with travel experts and government agencies in both countries. The advice we have received has been appreciated, but truthfully there are few options available to us.

It is unrealistic for us to bring a legal action against Expedia either in the US or in Mexico. The money necessary to hire lawyers to pursue the cases wouldn’t even be missed by Expedia, but would probably bankrupt us.

We have also been told to file complaints with the US Federal Trade Commission and with various federal and local watchdog agencies here in Mexico, including the Ministry of Tourism. We are doing all of that, but we are realistic about the chances of any results or relief in the near future. In the meantime the damage to our small business by Expedia continues.

If you’re a small hotel thinking of doing business with Expedia, think long and hard before making that commitment. If you are already doing business with Expedia, we hope you learn from our experiences here and tread carefully whenever you complain to them, lest you suffer a similar fate.

Spreading the Word

In the end we are really left with only one way to combat Expedia’s misconduct…telling the truth. And we are going to offer that truth to whoever wants to listen. We will tell our story to our friends, return guests, newsletter readers and fans of our blog and Facebook page. We will talk to other small business owners and hotel associations here in Mexico to warn them not to deal with the Cancun office of Expedia unless they want to be threatened with a fate like ours. And we will pass our story along to whoever in the travel industry will listen.

What we are trying to do here is to educate the public…the people who travel…the people who spend their very hard earned money on that one or two weeks of vacation they get each year. Those folks shouldn’t be lied to. Those folks shouldn’t have some pre-set website decide for them what kind of vacation they should take or what choices are available. The big boys in the travel world want to limit the public’s access to only those resources they market and can make a profit on. They would rather the paying public not even have a chance to consider the independent vendor. In our opinion, that’s unfair to those of us who are small business owners, and it’s unfair to the people just wanting to plan a nice vacation.

And so we have told our story here and we hope it opens some people’s eyes. Please feel free to pass it along if you know anyone who might be interested.

What Can You Do to Protect Yourself from Being Abused by Expedia?

Most importantly: don’t use Expedia.com, Hotels.com, Venere.com or any of their affiliated websites!  First of all they have a well-deserved reputation for bad customer service. Just Google the words “Expedia bad customer service” and see what comes up. Secondly they do not offer discounted rates as many claim. Many people believe that Expedia will offer better rates for a hotel room that the hotel does. That is not true. Expedia offers the hotel room at the same price as the property. Expedia gets a large percentage of what you pay for the room. Why would they give it to you cheaper? And why would a hotel offer a lower price on Expedia when they are already paying them a 25% commission? Obviously hotels save that 25% when you book directly with them, so why would they encourage you to book through a middleman by discounting their own prices on those sites? They don’t. But Expedia doesn’t want you to know that.

fightexpediablog5Also, remember that Expedia and other travel websites offer a limited number of hotels and rooms. Not all hotels list with Expedia, and those that do rarely list all their available rooms on the Expedia site (for the reason listed above.) For the most availability, best prices and service, always book directly with a hotel.  For more tips on how to have the vacation you choose, read 5 Reasons Not to Book Hotels Using Expedia, Hotels.com or Hotwire.

And finally, if you need help in planning a vacation or finding travel choices, either use the internet to do the research or go to a reputable travel agent. Don’t rely on a mammoth bureaucracy to understand what will be the best vacation for you. It’s your money, time and vacation. Don’t let somebody else make the plans…do it yourself!

The Luna Blue Hotel and Bar

As for our own future, we are not going to be discouraged or intimidated by Expedia’s bad behavior. We are not giving up on our business just because some industry giant tells us to. We are still living the dream here on the edge of the Caribbean Sea and still running one of the finest small boutique hotels in Mexico’s Mayan Riviera.

If you would like to know more about our hotel just visit our website at www.lunabluehotel.com. You can book directly with us. We would love to have you as our guests and show you the wonders of our little slice of paradise.

Thank you for taking the time to read our story. And happy travels to you all.

Tony & Cheri

For an update on what has happened since we posted this,

please take a look at our latest blog entry:

The Nightmare with Expedia Continues.

 

If after reading our story you would like to add your voice to ours in protesting Expedia’s behavior please consider sending the following e-mail to Expedia:“We strongly condemn how Expedia has treated the Luna Blue Hotel in Playa del Carmen, Mexico, as outlined in Expedia: Bad for the Traveler, Bad for the Hotel.  Please stop blocking their reservations.  We think it is grossly unfair for Expedia to treat small businesses in such manner.”Here are some addresses at Expedia where you can e-mail your comments:

General Corporate mailbox
: travel@expedia.com

Dara Khosrowshahi, President of Expedia
: darakh@expedia.com

Pablo Castro, Manager for Latin America Expedia
: pcastro@expedia.com

Javier Polanco, Area Manager for the Riviera Maya
: jpolanco@expedia.com

Judith Monroy, Associate Market Manager for Southeast Mexico
: jmonroy@expedia.com
12/28/12: The Verge, one of the internet’s largest technology and news media networks, has just published a story regarding our dispute with Expedia. The Verge’s reporter, Adrianne Jeffries, contacted Expedia and gave them a chance to tell their side of the story. As you can see from the article, their response was that they no longer did business with the Luna Blue Hotel. So the question remains: If they are not doing business with us, why are they tying up the internet with dozens of sites claiming that they have booking rights to the Luna Blue but that we are completley full? We’ll explore that soon. In the meantime, we ask that you please take a look at the Verge’s article, One Small Hotel’s Long Nightmare with Expedia.
‘LIKE’ the Luna Blue Hotel & Bar

433 Responses to “Expedia: Bad for the Traveler, Bad for the Hotel”

  1. Woah! Thanks for the heads up. Never booking a hotel through Expedia ever again, and I’m spreading word to my friends!

  2. David Beau. said

    We can verify parts of this. We have stayed at the Luna Blue almost every year since Tony and Cheri have opened. In late 2011 I was checking on availability of the Luna Blue for our vacation. I was surprized to find expedia said they had no room available. I then checked a couple other small hotels in Playa and was told they were also full. I then contacted Cheri and found that they did have plenty of rooms. Which we did book thru the hotel.

  3. karoline said

    OMG that’s awful!! Good for you standing up to them!

  4. Martin said

    We LOVE Luna Blue and look forward to visiting again. I wrote to the contacts at Expedia and told them I would no longer use them for travel plans unless a positive resolution was reached.

  5. Judy said

    Although we are regulars on Isla Mujeres, not Playa. We plan to send your protest letter AFTER we return from vacation (with flight booked through Expedia). Who knows what retribution they might exact on our flight reservation! But we’ll never use them again.

    • Thank you so much, Judy. We appreciate the support. We know that complaints such as all of these are probably just minor irritants to Expedia, but we think it’s important that people know the truth. Thanks again.

  6. Bill Robbins said

    I sent out e-mails to all you listed. In the nineties I started Hotel Mexico to allow a visual showcase of the areas rooms, including smaller hotels. We were thrown under the bus by larger groups like Hotels.com and Expedia, as well. But, what they’ve done to you, and area travelers who would like to have been able to consider your property, is totally unacceptable and I will help spread the word.

  7. This is sooo wrong! I feel for you guys and will send some e-mails to those listed. I booked for our stay with you in Feb through your website and am glad I did! We are also staying at the Blue Angel in Coz and we were told by TA that they were full, but on contacting them they had room as well? I wonder if they are aware of this issue?
    Hats off to you for educating us on this..I wish you both the best of luck and look forward to our stay in Feb!

  8. Lyle said

    My niece and her husband have been booking on Expedia for their yearly PDC getaway for the last 3 years. They will not be doing so this year or again….

  9. Lee Fabel said

    Toni and Cheri,
    what a nightmare! I absolutely will send emails to the people listed at the end of your blog. I have never booked with any of the websites and never will. I appreciate your sharing your horrible experience and can only hope that eventually things will improve for you. You have a fabulous place and we really enjoyed our stay with you which, by the way, we booked directly with you through your website. Will definitely pass along your story to all of our traveling friends.

  10. Deanna said

    I know first hand about this. I had booked a room back in Feb. to travel in November. I got an email mid Oct. from Hotels.com that Luna Blue no longer had any openings for that time. It didn’t make sense to me. After calling Hotels.com and them wanting me to book elsewhere I got hold of Cheri. She was in San Francisco at the time but took the time out to make sure I was able to rebook through their website directly for the time I had originally booked. I was also able to save 10% off what I had originally expected to pay. We went and stayed at Luna Blue and it was truly a wonderful experience. Cheri was out of town when we came so I was not able to meet her but Tony made us feel welcome and we wish you guys all the luck fighting this horrible thing that has happened. I would certainly stay here again if I return to Playa.

  11. Erin Keith said

    Hi Toni & Cheri,
    Have you considered starting your own petition against Expedia with Change.org and posting it to your Facebook page? I think this is outrageous!

  12. Kelsi said

    Toni and Cheri:

    I work for a large hotel here in Canada, and while I don’t experience the issues you face, I have a hatred for Expedia, for a number of other reasons. If it makes you feel any better, I almost always tell guests they are better off booking direct.

    I am not sure what the rules are in Mexico, but I am assuming if this is happening to you, then it must be happening to others. Could a number of owners not get together and pool their money for a legal assistance? Start a class action law suit?

    Aditionally, when you signed on with them was there not a date for the termination of the contract or a clause regarding termination? I would assume since they are no longer fullfilling their obligation, that at the very least a lawyer could make an argument as to why your page should be removed.

    I hope everything gets sorted out for you.

  13. Greg Hansen said

    Fighting the “Big Dog” is not an easy task alone, but with the help from all of us who who have stayed at the Luna Blue, we can make a difference. Spread the word about your stay at the Luna Blue. Expedia works on a commission base, with profit being their goal. For me, just telling anyone who is interested in a vacation, our experience at the Luna Blue, is a great story. When you are telling the truth its easy and enjoyable. For anyone tired of or not wanting the “All Inclusive” vacation, I would recommend checking out the Luna Blue. Our stay in Feb. of 2012 was fantastic and we will be back in Feb. of 2013. can hardly wait.
    Greg

  14. Sarah Murray said

    I think it is awful what Expedia and hotels.com have done to you. When I initially began my research of where I wanted to stay I picked Luna blue based on the tripadvisor.com reviews and ratings and also after looking at the map I thought the location was good and the price was good and my sister told me that her travel agent had told her if you ever go to Playa del Carmen the best place to stay in Luna blue. So after deciding on Luna blue I started to research booking. The booking sites said that there was no availability. I was so disappointed. Then I thought, well, I might as well try direct to the hotel just to be sure or perhaps get on a waiting list in case of a cancellation. Lo and behold there was actually a room available! Yea! I got what I wanted.

    It might be helpful to people that are researching if they can view the rooms that are actually booked and see the exact room that is available for booking. A lot of B&B’s have that facility and that way if someone goes to directly to the site they can see what room they can book when…..just a suggestion…..

    hope the whole fiasco is behind you very soon!
    Sarah Murray

    • Thank you for your comment, Sarah. Actually we are in the process of installing some software that will allow our guests to see our availability online. While you may not be able to view exactly which room is available like small B&Bs (we’re a little too big for that), you will be able to know what room type is available, which is something that we don’t offer right now. We’re hoping to have that up and running by the first of the year. We’re very excited about it. :) Thanks again for your support and for choosing us for your vacation.

      • Jennifer Church said

        Tony & Cheri
        We owned a 15-room inn several years ago, and were able to manage the reservation and real-time booking software pretty easily. I think it would be easy enough for you to do with 18 rooms, especially as the software has gotten far more manageable.

      • Thanks, Jennifer. We’re actually in the process of installing some software on our site which will show availability. Unfortunately this won’t negate the fact that Expedia and its affiliates show our hotel all over the internet as completely full. Most people won’t look beyond that, sadly.

  15. This is really terrible. We’ve shared your story with friends on Facebook. Looking forward to the day when you get it all resolved.

  16. Sarah Ross said

    I tried to book your hotel this year as well and was suprised you were full, but after hearing how nice your place was, I just thought you were booked. I will share this with my friends and the many friends I have who also own small hotels. Next time I will just call you. Thanks for the information.

  17. Cancuncare said

    Sorry to hear of this, it typifies the way big business is taking over and pushing out the little guys. Google are no better, pushing down natural listings in favour of their paid partnerships with guess who – Expedia. It also shows the morals of some of their staff who in order to boost their own commissions will try every dirty trick in the book with scant regard for anyone else. Have you severed your partnership with Expedia? I think you should. I will be posting about this on my forum and share with my 2000+ Cancun Facebook group.

    • Thanks, Steve. And you’re so right about that. Thank you for sharing this with your group. And we’ve tried to sever our partnership with Expedia, but absolutely no one will respond to us. :( We would be more than happy to be taken off their page forever.

      • Bill said

        I think they’ve finally taken you off their page. I can’t find you any longer, even with a site search.

      • We’re still there when we search. And we’re still all over the Expedia related pages when you do a google search. :(

      • Bill said

        Yes. I tried again and you are all over their search engine and the link from Google took me to your listing on the Expedia site. I put in some reservation dates in June and it said that you were booked, just as you said. But, when you go to the Expedia website and start from scratch. Hotels – Playa del Carmen and the hotel listings appear,- – then there is a box in the filter results “hotel name contains” and if you enter Luna Blue, it brings up Blue Bay, Blue Diamond, Lunata etc. seven listing results, but not your hotel. So, that’s odd. It still doesn’t help you at all, because most people are driven to your listing by their search engine. And you’re there, on Expedia and your potential guest is unable to book reservations. I wrote to all of the e-mail listings that were given and added my own editorial, as well.
        Wish you the best ending to this possible. It’s unbelievable what they’ve done to your business.

      • Cancuncare said

        While I agree suing them for loss of earnings would be a huge and expensive task – a cease and desist to their legal department might be a less expensive option to have them remove your page, I doubt they’d even contest it. I haven’t seen their page but I guess they have photos of your property and are using the name you own etc. At least sound out the possibility, preferably with a US lawyer rather than Mexican.

  18. Thanks for your shocking expose, Tony and Cheri. I live in Oaxaca, so I checked Expedia for availability here and found that in a listing of 35 possible choices, maybe 5 had any rooms available. Some of those with no apparent availability are big hotels, so I doubt they are really fully booked; I was also dismayed to see some smaller boutique hotels in the Expedia listings, places that I have visited, which are likely also getting the shaft like you are. Shame on Expedia, I’ll never look at them again.

  19. I am so sorry this is happening to you. I have sent your suggested letter, plus my own stronger words to everyone on your list. I have sent an email to everyone on my own personal list. I am so sorry you are experiencing the power of the corporate world. As travelers we all want the best price, but at what cost to small business? Corporations are taking over every part of the economy, so it’s time as individuals we spoke up. It’s time we all realize that every dollar we spend and where we spend it makes a huge statement. We do have power. Let’s use it! I wish you well. Live long and prosper. :o) Donna from San Miguel de Allende

  20. MikeQ said

    Terrible Terrible Terrible!
    I’ve been using Expedia for some of my travel but, will definitely stop.
    Sending emails as you suggested now.
    I wish you guys the best!

  21. shelley said

    Wow..thats eye opening! I am a small business owner myself. This is so unbelievable…so unfair. You have my support and I will never book anything from any of those sites! Thanks for the heads up and I hope your business prospers!

  22. Outrageous!!! thanks for posting, will spread the word, and wish you all the best…obviously never ever booking with those Giants!

  23. Dawn said

    Hello Tony & Cheri.

    Happy Holidays from Chicago! Have you sent this article to consumer advocate Christopher Elliott, (http://www.elliott.org/), or Arthur Frommer’s blog (http://www.frommers.com/blog/), or the Ombudsman at Conde Nast Traveller (http://www.cntraveler.com/ombudsman)? All of those writers reach many travellers through magazines, web articles and social media. I have never booked any travel through an agent or travel service such as Expedia….and never will. You can always get the best rates by calling the hotel directly….anywhere in the world. I wish you luck in getting this resolved.

    Dawn

  24. Martha said

    As a manager for a small resort business, I am sharing this with my past guests and any future guests. Posting it on FB, as well.

  25. Storm said

    I work at a small midwest chain in the US. We don’t have the same problems you do, but I have experienced Expedia’s awful customer service and mistakes, like when we’re sold out of non-smoking rooms they will book them in a smoking room! If you work in hospitality you know this does not work. Also, trying to get refunds for guests is a nightmare. Our hotel works the way of expedia gets a special rate, usually 68 dollars but charges the guest our regular rate of 100 dollars, saving the guest nothing. Also, if you are a guest, you are less appreciated. On those websites in the fine print, it basically has the clause that hotels can put you in the rooms they have left, not always what you requested. I am not an Expedia fan and they sound like they are being quite evil to you.

  26. Louise said

    Dearest Friends,

    We are so sorry to hear that you are going through this. It’s not fair that you have been exploited in this cruel way. Not you… Jeez. :(
    You guys are so honest, loyal and kind. You certainly do not deserve this. It pi$$es me off, to tell you the truth!
    Something good has to come out of this. Don’t give up! What goes around, comes around. Rest assured that I will be sending emails… and I will not be too nice about it either.

    We love you, miss you and think about you very often.

    Love & hugs,
    Louise & Bry

  27. Hi Tony and Cheri,

    Our friend Leanne sent us your blog via a friend of hers. We own Casa Chocolate B&B in Cuernavaca. It is hard enough to do business these days in Mexico than to have to deal with such a horrible company that is trying to squash you. We completely understand what you have gone through in respect to swine flu and the press resulting from the Cartel business. We have been asked by Mexican’s needing to travel to our city for weddings/events if it is safe :(

    I am not sure if you know about a website for innkeepers called INNspiring (http://www.innspiring.com/) they may have some ideas/help for you. There are many great owners on this site and have wonderful knowledge and experience or can put you in touch with someone that may be able to help.

    We are only “on” TripAdvisor publicly (not a paid subscription) and have found this the best place for us. We get most or our business through them. Sadly I wonder if you have thought about biting the bullet and starting over … change your name ever so slightly (blue to azul or ??) and then notify all previous guests of your name change and ask them to write (re-write) a review for you under your new name on TripAdvisor. I know this is allowing Expedia to “win” but without a lawyer I am not sure how else you could fight them. :( You started from nothing name wise would you be willing to do it again?

    I am so sorry for your current situation with such a bully of a company. They really should be shut down in my opinion for the way they do business. Surely there are rules governing them in the USA as that is where they are based from.

    I hope that my humble suggestions do not anger you or your friends. They are just that, humble last straw suggestions.

    I wish you all the best and a business with full beds (not that we have a business with full beds as we too are doing about sometimes less than half the business from when we originally opened due to the current situation here).

    • Cathy: thanks so much for the words of support. Other people have advised such things as a name change. Truthfully, we are not that desperate. We did very well without Expedia before and feel confident that we will survive despite their scams and misconduct. We will continue to do our part to educate the traveling public as to the limitations of using such mega-booking sites and continue to put out the word that the best way to book a small hotel is directly with the hotel. We are greatly heartened by the outpouring of support we have received on this issue.

      • I would suggest to your guests to flood tripadvisor with reviews saying that you are in fact running without issues and to let everyone know that reads tripadvisor first that their are no issues with your business. I wish you all the best as I know how much hard work, time and money goes into our businesses. If you need a supportive shoulder, don’t hesitate. Suerte :))

      • Cathy, since this fiasco started, two different people wrote reviews of our hotel on TripAdvisor commenting on the problems we were having with online booking agencies and that we were in fact still in business and had availability. TripAdvisor, which has close financial ties to Expedia, removed them both. :(

  28. Orm said

    Wow! Thanks for the heads up. I never knew they could be capable of such bloody-mindedness. I wonder if this is an Expedia-wide issue or if this is the Cancun Office’s incompetence. Have you taken this further up the Expedia chain? I shudder to think that this is their business model!

    We ourselves are just about to take on the running of a small hotel in Tulum, and have always used Expedia in the past to book our own personal holidays. So I’ll be certainly aware of this from now on!

    I’ll mention this in my blog, thanks for the heads up!

    • Yes, we took it further up the Expedia chain. Both Pablo Castro and his boss, Marco Tagliatti, are both in the US. Neither was any help to us. Marco Tagliatti even told us, “This isn’t my problem.” If it were just the Cancun office, one would think that either of these individuals would have done something. Their lack of caring at all made it clear to us that it is the Expedia corporate culture, not just Mexico. What is the small hotel in Tulum you will be running? We’re always looking for places in Tulum to recommend to people (and to try out ourselves).

  29. mark tedesco said

    I just sent the emails to all concerned, Expedia just lost my business and my corporate business.

  30. tushark said

    Hi Tony & Cheri! I’m in the online travel business too (shameless plug: we just launched our site https://www.govoyagin.com that helps travels discover and book unique travel experiences in Asia).

    I’m so sorry that you had to go through such a devastating experience. It truly brings shame to the industry when what we should be doing is educating and empowering SMBs and entrepreneurs like you. Thanks so much for sharing your story; I hope that you get a favorable resolution from Expedia soon! In the meanwhile, have you tried listing the Luna Blue Hotel on Airbnb? FYI, they are open to B&Bs and small hotels like you listing on them and it’s a great way to get recognized. Airbnb is always my go-to site these days for unique, awesome spaces to spend nights in when away from home.

    btw, I’ve been following Cleartrip for a while, and as far as I know, they are neither owned or operated by Expedia. To the contrary they are owned by Concur. They syndicate some of their rooms from Expedia, but I just thought I should let you know since they’re a struggling startup (in some ways just like you and us) and have a really awesome team and strategy behind them.

    • Thanks so much for the ideas…we will check them out.

    • One thought though…if Cleartrip gets rooms from Expedia, then it’s the same nightmare for our guests. This also means they are getting content about the hotels the list from Expedia, as well. Also, Expedia is still getting paid. We would not want to work with a company that results in Expedia being paid. It turns out there are many, many, many small companies that do exactly that — they more or less work as front ends for Expedia. Unfortunately Expedia’s inaccuracies in hotel information will only cause them problems and guests unhappiness, we’re afraid. :(

  31. [...] Read the entire story bu going here: http://playazone.wordpress.com/2012/12/04/expedia-bad-for-the-traveler-bad-for-the-hotel/ [...]

  32. denny18 said

    Have you tried making a petition on change.org? This could be a very helpful tool when trying to get their attention. I recommend checking it out! Hope everything works out :/

  33. denny18 said

    Wow, shame on them. you should try making a petition at change.org. it is a very helpful tool when trying to get big companies or corporations attention.you should definitely check it out. I hope everything works out for you

  34. Kimberly Barton said

    Consumers have a myriad of choices and limited time. Unfortunately, the perceived ease, touted savings and choices on such a large site offer the consumer a “one stop shop” for travel comparisons. And today’s consumers prefer self-service everything not realizing how a good professional travel agent can be a benefit and actually save time and money.

    Being affiliated in the meeting planning industry booking private and corporate meetings around the globe, I try to avoid third party aggregator sites for my personal travel, like Expedia, due to experiencing several of these same problems.

    It’s a shame that smaller, unique sites such as yours get lost in the mix. Some of our best meetings have been at independently-owned sites. It’s through word of mouth, a good marketing mix and other industry affiliations to boost visibility for smaller properties.

    Good for you taking a stand by speaking out. Let’s hope for good things to come from this!

  35. Barbara Pilgrim said

    They really need to give a customer more and better options. The few hotels I’ve booked through these sights have been HORRENDOUS!!!!! Just filthy, nasty, disgusting. There aren’t enough words. In one hotel, I walked in the room, flipped on the lights, and about 10 bugs, the size of a mouse (absolutely NO lie) scrambled in the middle of the floor and ran under the bed. I nearly fell over myself running out of the room and immediately cancelled my reservation. It was 1 AM and I had to ride around trying to find another hotel, which I ended up paying max for, and had to leave by 6 AM. That hotel wasn’t much better, but I was too tired at that point. No compensation for that disaster at all. Another one had major construction going on everywhere, so that you practically had to do a spiderman crawl along the walls and ceiling to get in and out of the place.

    More people should boycot these hotel booking sights until they make ALL options available and let the customer choose where they want to go. I would definitely have done with a place like Luna Blue!!

  36. Liang said

    Thank you for sharing your experience, it is a very enlightening post! I’ve only used Expedia as a traveler and I don’t think I will anymore. I was quite surprised that they are such an unscrupulous company, and that they own Hotwire.. You see, I’ve personally been scammed by Hotwire which resulted in panic and an almost ruined holiday in NY on the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy. Anyway I will spread the word, I hope despicable monopolies like this go bust! Or change or the better!

  37. Jess said

    This is so awful. I see you’ve had some great suggestions so far, but have you considered writing to Consumerist.com about this at all? They have such a far reach and generally get great results in terms of responses from larger companies like Expedia, plus their reader base is HUGE. Best of luck to you all!

  38. PY said

    Wow. Thanks for sharing. As a person who tries to travel at least twice a year, I’ve relied rather heavily on websites like hotels.com and Expedia for the good deals. I’ve got an inkling the situation was not very beneficial to small hotel owners two years ago in A Coruña (when a lovely hotel owner explained the situation vaguely to me) but didn’t know it was quite so bad. Now that I don’t travel on such a strict budget, it is food for thought. Will spread the word and will try to adjust travel planning accordingly with this in mind.

    • THanks for your support, PY. The thing to remember is that the only time you might possibly find a true lower price on a site like Expedia is when it is combined with airfare to make a package. In that situation they require the hotel to cut its prices even further (and the airline as well) in order to create a package. Otherwise the prices on sites like Expedia should be exactly the same as you can get from the hotel. They just make it seem like it’s less, using deceptive marketing.

  39. Alias said

    Ho Ho Ho…!!! Greetings from Asia! From now on, no more going to Expedia and their subsidiaries for any more bookings for me!

    I’m going to post this link on my FB and get people to spread the word about this nonsense!

    I agree with Kelsi that you should pool together businesses that have suffered a similar fate and initiate a class-action suit against Expedia.

    If it’s happening to you, it can be happening to lots of others as well.

    It’s all about playing fair.

    They may think they are very big right now and can steam-roll and bully others for profit, but I think it only takes a bit of persistence, faith and that very first step forward to your day in court to show Expedia that they are NOT invincible.

    I’m not suggesting this out of spite, rather I believe such bullies should be taught a lesson about how to behave in a civilised and professional manner.

    Anyway, thanks for the warning, Tom & Cheri. I hope everything gets ironed out. If I do travel your way in the near future, hopefully, I’ll definitely come over and check Luna Blue out.

    Merry X’mas and God bless.

  40. James said

    My previous partner used to book all our holidays. He used to use LastMinute.com and Expedia. Over a series of 5 trips, I said that we had to stop booking hotels this way. Every single hotel we stayed in was awful. We stayed in 5* hotels in different continents, some in cities, some in the countryside. We had hotels where the mattress was ruined, and was not replaced even though we pointed out it was unusable. We had staff who dropped food off plates as they put them down, then picked the food up with their fingers and put it back on our plates. We had rooms where the balcony doors did not lock (and the balcony was accessible by all other rooms on that floor). We had hotels where all fire doors were jammed open. Hotels in mosquito-infested countries, where the air-con was off, and all doors open, meaning no guest could leave his bedroom at night and go into any communal area. Hotels that were infested with cockroaches, or where they were cutting through steel at 8am doing renovations.

    A few times he booked holidays alone, where he got to a hotel in a hot country where the roof-top swimming pool was being renovated at the height of summer.

    Looking back on 30 years of international travel, all my worst holiday experiences came from booking through Expedia or LastMinute.com. And the problem is: you have paid up-front. Paying again to stay in a decent hotel, and then trying to get your money back later is a fool’s game.

    My new partner booked our last holiday through Expedia, and I warned him about my past experience. Thankfully this one was perfect. But the ratio of good to bad experiences is not something I would want to repeat.

  41. Hi Tony & Cheri,

    I’m really sorry to hear about the ordeal you guys are going through with Expedia. I’l be sending the emails you suggested. Also I run a small web programming company in Playa del Carmen. If you ever need consulting please let me know.

  42. r said

    Thanks for letting us know how they work. I spend a significant amount of time traveling, and will no longer use them or their services after reading this. On a related note, I’ll probably be heading down to Playa del Carmen this year – I have bookmarked your website. See you soon (hopefully!)

  43. Nidhi said

    Will never book with Expedia again. Thanks for the info. Will also share your experience on my blog beauty-mantra.com

  44. Thomas said

    I am disgusted with Expedia’s bullying. We are getting a holiday for our daughter’s birthday and I was about to book though Expedia. Not after reading this post. We will not be using them, now or in the future (for booking, might still use their search system for finding hotels).

  45. jason@jasonosgood.com said

    “For the most availability, best prices and service, always book directly with a hotel.”

    Good advice. And then verify that you’re talking to the hotel.

    I searched for Kalaloch Lodge and a top result is http://www.thekalalochlodge.com. Looks legit, right? Called the number. They answered the phone as the hotel. But it was actually just a front entity that books thru hotels.com. Which we did not discover until we arrived at Kalaloch Resort and there was a problem with our reservation. We paid $40 extra per night for the privilege of being lied to.

    There are third parties that are web savvy doing the SEO thing to divert legitimate traffic to liars and cheats.

    The only work around I can think of is to use the phone book to get the real hotel phone number.

  46. alixorus said

    There seems to be quite a few very clear illegal actions here that the FTC and tourism associations in Mexico should pursue.

    I am not a lawyer, but it seems like getting some legal assistance might pay off for you, and the publicity from taking on Expedia might also make you heros and improve business. I would think a cease and desist order to stop providing false availability information would be your first step.

  47. Jonathan Berger said

    Tony & Cheri,

    Great post – but I think to keep it credible you might want one section. As a reader, I realize I’m hearing just one side of the story here, and I want to believe your version and not Expedia’s (whatever it may be). However, when I detect a factual inaccuracy in your version, it makes me less likely to believe the rest of it.

    “Many people believe that Expedia will offer better rates for a hotel room that the hotel does. That is not true.”

    I actually know in one particular case, this to be true firsthand. If you stay at the Pueblo Bonita Blanco in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico, the price that the hotel front desk or phone line will offer is more than double the rate offered by Expedia. The reason is dual-fold: first, Expedia pre-purchases some inventory and lowers the price until it sells. Second, the hotel doesn’t want to be seen as cheap and so only advertises this lower rate on a separate branded storefront.

    I wish you luck in correcting this problem, but keeping your message as accurate as possible will help your case.

    • Bill said

      Jonathan…your comparison is not valid….you are comparing apples and oranges… The blog was discussing the terms of a merchant model contract where a hotel contractually cannot offer a lower priced hotel room. That is true. However, your comparison is not valid because you are comparing against a time share / resort that has to protect the value of their time shares. That is a different beast.

      • Angela said

        Bill, What Jonathan says is true even for larger hotel properties. I worked for a Marriott hotel, the price we quoted was almost always more…sometimes far more than what a guest could book a room for on Expedia or any other web site. We were told to tell the guest that if they found a better rate online that they should book it online even if they were a walkin. We were not allowed to offer that lower rate even if the guest called the hotel directly, or as a walkin.

      • As we have found out, it appears that Expedia buys large blocks of rooms from large hotels and then often undercuts the hotel’s price — much like a ticket scalper. But the hotel is forbidden by Expedia’s contract to ever offer a price lower than Expedia! Seems fairness only works in one direction. Corporate greed at its finest. :(

    • You’re right Jonathan. We were speaking from a small hotel’s perspective. Apparently the way it works with large hotels is that Expedia buys up a block of rooms and then sell them for any price they want. We weren’t aware of this when we told our story, as this had been our only experience with Expedia/Hotels.com/Venere etc. as hotel owners. But what is interesting–and very unfair to those large hotels–is that Expedia’s contract forbids a hotel from offering a room for a lesser price than Expedia. We couldn’t even offer a small discount to our guests without being in violation of our Expedia contract. However it appears that Expedia does exactly that–undercuts the prices set by large hotel. It’s no wonder large hotels have such ridiculously high “rack rates” which they then discount constantly. That seems so unfair to us, as not only do the hotels lose out but eventually the travelers do, as well. The less money Expedia is making on you, the less they care about taking care of problems when they arise. And in the end, we think the cost of a problem-free vacation is priceless.

      • Angela said

        You are right, the travelers do lose out. The people that booked through Expedia etc.. were always on the bottom of the priority list, which was even worse when the hotel was fully booked, they got what ever was left over. I worked for several years in the hospitality industry from Bed and Breakfast to five diamond properties. At the larger hotels, if you booked directly..you were on the top of the priority list, more likely to get a room upgrade, drink and dining vouchers, etc…. .

  48. Jason said

    Appalling and unethical behavior duly noted; travel arrangements modified accordingly. I’m making sure all my friends and family hear about this as well, and advising them to only book direct once they’ve found where they want to go.

    If I can juggle my vacation plans a bit to include Playa del Carmen (and if all the viral exposure this is getting doesn’t leave you ACTUALLY booked solid) – perhaps we’ll be able to clink a few glasses together with you in the spring. :-)

  49. I will not be using Expedia again. The kind of shocking lack of decorum shown by Expedia reps is just horrific.

  50. Anand said

    Is your website down ?

  51. Hi Tom & Cheri,

    Even if you can’t afford a lawyer, you can file a complaint against Expedia in the U.S. with the Federal Trade Commission. I don’t know Mexican agencies, but they probably have an equivalent to the FTC. Expedia is engaging in “bait & switch” activity–pulling customers in with low-cost rooms which are then “unavailable”, and steering them to more expensive rooms. I’d also suggest that you try to get your listing out of Expedia, Hotels.com, Hotwire.com and other companies with the same ownership.

    Finally, the head of Expedia is Barry Diller, who runs IAC/InterActiveCorp. That company owns over 50 other websites and businesses (see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/IAC_(company)). I’d suggest not only boycotting Expedia and its brands, but also IAC’s businesses, in order to get their attention.

  52. I will never book from Expedia again!!!

    p.s. Your website seems to be unreachable for me. I guess it’s because of too many people are visiting it right now…

  53. Justin said

    Thanks for the write up! I will never useexpedia to book a hotel ever again.

  54. Your website doesn’t seem to work. Is that also hosted by Expedia? :)

    It seems that Expedia representatives are accustomed to kickbacks they are probably getting from bigger hotels, and douches as they are, they probably don’t like that you are too small to bribe them.

    I think it was irresponsible of you to work with Expedia for so long and let this escalate. On the other hand, I wish you all the best in your fight, but now that you got burned, maybe you should be more careful in how you are dealing with your ‘partners’.

  55. hellokathy said

    Oh wow, that is pretty shocking! Thank you for sharing your story.

    I don’t have a lot of ways to help you guys but I do hope you’ll get out of this with a blue eye. It’s true that you probably can’t “win” but hopefully, there won’t be much of a fight to win anymore.

    I used to book through hotels.com and I won’t lie, it was mostly about their rewards program for me. If this is Expedia’s way of treating hotel owners, though, I’ll gladly give up my free nights to know I’m not supporting that anymore.

  56. jeremy said

    Have you contacted fox news or cnn? This story seems like a juicy story they would run

  57. Luba said

    Thank you for telling the world about your experience with Expedia. I have never booked through them, but friends have told me to do so… but now, after reading about your experience with them, I will NEVER recommend them, nor book through them. I own a small art supplies store in Calgary, Alberta and I know what it is like to be a small business owner.

    Also, I did try to load your website but it seems it is not loading… hopefully this is just a temporary error. I’d love to stay at Luna Blue when I visit Mexico for the first time :)

  58. jason said

    Reblogged this on Jason A. Hoffman and commented:
    Crazy. Damning to Expedia.

  59. S.C. said

    I had a really bad experience with one of these middleman hotel booking services. I don’t remember whether it was Expedia, Priceline or one of the other big names, but I do remember nearly swearing up a storm to some jackass over the phone outside of a Vienna, VA hotel because it turned out that I didn’t have a room and they weren’t helping me out. And I’m normally a very calm person. I decided then that I’d never use such a service again, and your story only confirms my decision. I hope you keep up the fight.

  60. Miss Y said

    I’ve never used Expedia and after reading this I never will. I’ve always found it better to book accommodation directly through the hotel.

    Good luck with your fight here and I hope it all works out in your favour! :)

  61. [...] Expedia, which owns Hotels.com, Hotwire, and Venere, is a big, fat rip-off: [...]

  62. Excuse me, which search’s parameters would be for looking for your hotel or direct links to your profiles on Expedia’s sites?

    • Google Luna Blue Hotel. Besides our website, blog and FB pages and booking.com, you’ll see many links to Expedia pages, their affiliate pages, and many other travel websites that point back to Expedia’s feeds, many of which don’t indicate that their information is coming from Expedia. ALL of them show our hotel as having no availability, ever. :(

  63. Courtney said

    I’ve never used Expedia. One reason being that they dropped American Airlines from their flight listings, which is my preferred airline when I fly. But I will definitely let friends know about this so they know to steer clear of Expedia and their affiliated sites.

  64. Maud Collins said

    We once booked a room through hotels.com years ago- it was such a disaster, that I never booked online again including Expedia. I do know from working in the hotel business, when you book through a discounter, you’re apt to get the lesser rooms in the hotel and have a snowball’s chance in hell of ever getting an upgrade. I always book directly with the hotel. Especially non-chain properties. I support small businesses. Big businesses are getting WAY too much power. Look at the Walmart effect on small-town USA/

  65. Jay said

    This was a really enlightening post and I am sorry this is happening to you. So thank you for posting it.

    I spend a wonderful week in Playa Del Carmen about 15 years ago. Loved it. So pretty. So rightsized (then) (I don’t know about now.) It must be amazing to live there full-time, and I hope you folks do well.

  66. Man. I don’t imagine I’ll have the funds for a vacation to a hotel like yours in the near future, but I wish I did so I could support your cause.
    You might be interested to know that a couple of years ago I experience a similar issue with Hostelworld.com while I was teaching abroad. A friend booked a hostel in Rome for three people all together, and then checked the site a few days later to find out that our hotel was “closed”. When we contacted them, we were told that we might have to stay in a different hostel because they weren’t closed, but they were renovating. My friends and I got to Rome and were sent on a somewhat wild goose chase to a new hostel, including literally getting into a windowless van with a strange man. The hostel we stayed in was fine, but the kicker was that we had paid 40 euros each for the night while our roommates, who had picked that hostel directly, had paid at least 10 euros less. That’s when I first learned to watch out for booking sites, because it’s not just hotels.

  67. Sorry to hear about this dreadful treatment from Expedia. I book directly through hotel sites and get the best rates and then I also know who I’m dealing with – not some huge uncaring corporate entity. I wish I used Expedia so I could quit on your behalf! But I will certainly keep your property in mind for our next trip to Mexico – and there’s always a next one!

    Just thought – wonder how someone could get 60 Minutes on this? Admittedly you’re small for them but they might like to go after Expedia.

  68. Very useful information and reference before travelling, thanks for sharing your experience.

  69. Jennifer Martin said

    Interesting information and thank you for sharing about your experience. However, I have really good experiences with expedia as a customer. When I had a family emergency I was able to get a full refund on booked hotel and flight to return home – even though I already stayed for two nights at that hotel. They took care of the return flight for me as I in my distress couldn’t. In addition, I have always found bookings via expedia cheaper than contacting airlines, hotels, etc. directly.

    But I am sorry to hear what you are going through.

  70. Gadgetman said

    Reblogged this on Scott's Creative Matrix and commented:
    Wow! Shame on Expedia.

  71. Chase said

    This is pretty terrible. My condolences for the effect Expedia’s had on your hotel.

    Hotels.com left my family and I stranded in Beijing at the Beijing Mandarin Fortuneland Business Hotel, which took our booking through Hotels.com and took our money, but told us it’d never received the booking or the money, and refused us rooms. Even when I showed the confirmation and payment information, the hotel simply said sorry – sometimes there’s a mix up with these foreign websites. No offer to get us another hotel room, no attempt to help, not even when I spoke with a manager there. I had to find an alternative on the hotel’s Internet (fortunately I had my laptop with me) and hail taxis for us outside to get there.

    When I contacted Hotels.com for a refund, they gave me a big production of apologies and endless requests to hold on “Just a little bit longer.” They claimed difficulty contacting the hotel’s online account manager. This went on for weeks. At last I realized they were drawing out the deadline to either make me forget about the refund, or to run out the timetables for a chargeback. Finally I told them to either refund me, or I’d open a chargeback, and let them deal with that hassle and additional fees from their bank. They never replied; I filed the chargeback and my credit card issuing bank recovered my money for me.

    Obviously, I’ll never use Hotels.com again. I went online and found a lot of similar complaints. Either they’re incredibly disorganized, or they have an active policy of obfuscation and theft. Seems it extends down from the parent company, Expedia.

    Well, I guess if you want a good example of a company currently on top that’s taken the short-term maximization of revenues at long-term expense approach, there you have it: Hotels and Expedia.

    Personally these days I’m using Agoda for hotels and Orbitz or Priceline for flights and cars. I won’t touch Hotels or Expedia with a 10-foot pole.

    Chase

  72. Chase said

    For getting unauthorized / untruthful listings of your site off of Google, see this link:

    http://support.google.com/bin/static.py?hl=en&ts=1114905&page=ts.cs

  73. I am someone who has used Vacation Rentals By Owner (VRBO.com) and will continue to. This breaks my heart to pieces as my sister and I have dreamed of owning a chain of small hotels & Inn’s throughout the Caribbean islands starting in Puerto Rico. I shared this on my Facebook page as well as my Twitter account. My sister works for Omni Hotels in Austin Texas and I posted it to her page. She will spread the information like wildfire throughout Omni & among all her co-workers. I know Omni is one of the “big guys”, but my sister is a very sweet and humble girl as we are Faith filled people, and we grew up very poor. Our parents dreams were crushed by a “big guy” general contractor, & I have spent several years as a GC fighting the big business tycoons with a small business heart. Thank you for sharing this, for I believe the days for big business are numbered. We just have to make sure to continue to communicate these things on a large scale & boycott all the big business we can altogether.

    God Bless You guys, and make sure to keep the fire burning. When I book Mexico, I will book with you.

    Ignite a Fire

    Eddie C

  74. Reblogged this on —–Fix This Kind Of Broken— and commented:
    As I am someone who has been down in the dumps & abused by major corporations, I am obligated by my heart to reblog this. Please read, repost, reblog, Tweet, and spread this in every way you can.

  75. cityfella said

    Reblogged this on SACRATOMATOVILLE POST.

  76. Reblogged this on Free Thinker Journal and commented:
    This is why I always design my own holiday, rather than being dictate what to do for my vacations by some strange middle man travel agents.

  77. Hi there,
    I work in online review business and I certainly know how unfair it is for small businesses to be pictured wrongly by a giant like Expedia. I sent all protest e-mail already and spread your blog online :) Thanks for sharing

  78. Bosmosis said

    I was absolutely stunned to read about the way you were treated by Expedia. I’d be happy to write them right now and let them know I’ll never be using them again and why. Good luck!

  79. Karen said

    I’m so sorry to hear what happened to you. Speaking as someone who goes on holiday from time to time, I do prefer to stay at small, independent places. I think we usually book directly anyway, but I’ll definitely be making an extra effort to ensure we keep doing so.

  80. Shay M said

    I didn’t read all of this, but I support small business. For that reason alone, I try to avoid the bigger chains as much as possible…no matter what the reason. Stay strong!!

  81. Kayla said

    Wow, I had no idea these middleman sites used such shady practices! How naive of me to assume they are honest. Well, I’m sincerely sorry they’ve done this to your business and I’ll never use their services again.

  82. I’ve noticed that when searching for hotels that places have shown as no availability on Expedia when the hotel site says different, but never realised there was all this deviousness behind it. Sorry to hear what you have been through and consider me as another convert to the anti-Expedia cause, as I won’t be booking with them again.

  83. John Doe said

    I generally avoided these sites before but now I KNOW I’ll avoid them :) Thanks for the heads-up

  84. segmation said

    I am so glad you shared your experiences. I think the more that people share about Expedia the better. I didn’t realize that others shared the same thoughts I have about Expedia and I so appreciate your concerns. I have to fly home from our Winter trip on Expedia. I hope we have more pleasant travels back than here and that the airlines that Expedia put us on stop cancelling due to them having not enought flight crews!

  85. Thank you for sharing your Expedia experience with us. I’ve tweeted the link to this piece via @LyndonKeane.

  86. lvngwell said

    Reblogged this on My Plan For World Domination and commented:
    I encourage everyone to read this and help the protest by sending the emails requested at the end of the post!

  87. Tony and Cheri, thanks for this. I contacted the Expedia folks listed above and shared this blog post with friends. I hope to see a positive update in the future. As a consumer, I feel like I’ve developed a skeptical view of online travel sites (I’ve had awful experiences with Groupon travel, in particular), but I never knew what the situation was like for hotel owners. Best of luck!

  88. Ashana M said

    And this is why I never book anything through any of the large travel sites–Expedia, Travelocity, Orbitz, or any of them. I do look at them to see what current discounts seem to be for flights–not hotels–and I do look at the customer-review oriented sites. And then I book directly through the hotel or airline I want to use. All of the large travel sites are terrible from a customer-service oriented point of view, and they don’t offer anything unique–not a lower price, and not convenience.

  89. amelie88 said

    As a poor twenty something, I have never used Expedia to book flights or hotels. My father has used them a few times but when I travel on my own, I usually book through hostelworld.com or hotelbookers.com which I don’t think are affiliated with Expedia. I’ve always found Expedia to be more expensive than other travel websites, which is why I have never used them. After reading this story, this only reinforces my opinion to take my business elsewhere. I hope you guys are able to end this “partnership” (never was one to begin with) with Expedia and that things get resolved. Good luck! :)

  90. Let’s sue these bastards’ asses off!

  91. CURLX said

    The best is always to find hour hotel in one of these big Goliaths, and after this, reserve directly in the hotel website or calling them.

    I always do this after hotels.com created me a huge problem in a far foreign country from mine.

  92. Brian Krebs said

    Do you know that the Luna Blue Hotel does not show up on Expedia.com at all now? I looked up hotels in Playa Del Carmen, Mexico and filtered the search by the phrase “Luna Blue”. While I did receive 7 results, none were the Luna Blue Hotel or anything very similar. Have you stopped doing business with Expedia altogether now? Did they eventually just remove your listing? I didn’t see anywhere in the blog post where you said anything had changed since they left your listing up, but blocked all reservations.

    • Thanks for the feedback, Brian. Yes, we know that Luna Blue Hotel does not show up on Expedia in a search of Playa del Carmen hotels anymore. However our pages are still active on Expedia (in all languages). It can be accessed through googling Expedia Luna Blue or going to http://www.expedia.mx/Playa-Del-Carmen-Hotels-Luna-Blue-Hotel.h4713782.Hotel-Information?rfrr=Redirect.From.www.expedia.com%2FPlaya-Del-Carmen-Hotels-Luna-Blue-Hotel.h4713782.Hotel-Information. And we still have a page continuing to exist on all of Expedia’s foreign sites and affiliate sites. For example, if you go to our Luna Blue Hotel TripAdvisor page (http://www.tripadvisor.com/Hotel_Review-g150812-d292966-Reviews-Luna_Blue_Hotel-Playa_del_Carmen_Yucatan_Peninsula.html) you’ll see it says “Show the Lowest Prices for this Hotel” with a link to Venere.com, one of Expedia’s affiliates. Of course Venere shows we have no availability ever. And MANY people find us from our TripAdvisor page. (By the way, TripAdvisor and Expedia.com have close financial ties. And twice in the past month people have written TripAdvisor reviews about our hotel pointing out the scam being carried out by Expedia. Both of those reviews were removed by TripAdvisor.)

      So, the current situation is if you search our hotel from their page, we don’t show up. But we still continue to show up via direct access to the Luna Blue page and throughout the internet through their affiliate pages…all saying we have no availability. We still several receive several emails a day from people saying they want to book with us but see that we have no availability. This is because of Expedia’s actions in this regard.

      No, we are not doing business with Expedia. But they continue to list us throughout the world as having no availability ever. This is why we are so angry.

      • Brian Krebs said

        I see what you’re saying. I was able to find your Expedia and Yahoo! Travel pages via a Google search. Both stated you had no availability, as you described. Thanks for the very specific reply. I’m one of the seemingly few people that like to do at least cursory research before believing something I read on the internet. You may want to somehow augment your blog post with the above in order to assuage the concerns of people like me that might be confused with the facts presented. Then again, I believe I’m probably enough of a minority for it not to matter.

        Have you been able to find other small businesses in the hospitality industry that have had similar experiences as Expedia partners? I wonder if a small business alliance specific to the hospitality industry utilizing principles similar to labor unions wouldn’t provide a significant increase in collective bargaining and litigation power. Of course, it would take a lot of work, and may not be feasible, but it might be beneficial in the long term.

        Anyway, good luck with your business. As a small business owner myself, I empathize with your plight. I will join in the chorus and discontinue using Expedia even though I’ve had a very good experience with them as a fairly regular consumer of their services. I’ll also spread the word as much as I can. Have a good New Year.

  93. This is an interesting insight!..They sure have some crazy and intelligent brains to fool even the intelligent people on earth.

  94. Patti said

    Sorry to hear about your nightmare with Expedia but I’m glad you shared it. I feel much more educated about the way they work. I won’t use them again, I prefer to book directly with a hotel.

  95. Andrea said

    Wow! Thank you for revealing this side of Expedia. I certainly won’t be using them again and will definitely share your story.
    Best of luck with everything and if we are ever down your way, we’ll book direct!

  96. I cannot imagine how frustrating this must be for you. I would never book via third party website myself; I’ve seen issues with Expedia from the travellers’ sides. Best of luck to you for a profitable, wonderful, 2013!

  97. How low and disgusting! Sounds to me like Basil Fawlty runs Expedia….traveller beware!

  98. I have not found links within the article to your profiles on these sites. I believe, you forgot to provide the information to third-party verification. Can you provide this information? Internet is an unreliable source of information, however.

  99. Thanks for the info. I will definitely rethink my use of expedia!! I have to note, though, that the silly snowflakes are distracting. If you have information and a blog of value, you don’t need the “fluff” of animated graphics and other things that distract from that.

  100. Reblogged this on Chirimoya Tours Peru Reiseveranstalter.

  101. Expedia has their hotel with pictures and very positive reviews but every date plugged in to check availability – even single nights up to May 2014!! – show no availability. Makes you go hmmm.

  102. genkiduck said

    Yikes! I’ve never used Expedia to book anything, though I have browsed it, I prefer to book directly whenever possible, usually through the hotel/hostel/inn’s own website. Personally I don’t mind it if smaller places don’t have the automatically-updating availability online, as long as they respond to reservation inquiries/requests within a day or two. Good luck breaking up with Expedia, I hope it works out for you guys!!! :)

  103. BM said

    We will not be using Expedia in the future. Since they are publicly traded, it is probably a good idea to sell their stock and tell all your friends to sell theirs as well. This company is in for a thrashing…

  104. Andrew said

    HI I work aboard a cruise ship which docks in Cozumel every two weeks. I’ve been to Playa Del Carmen once and I’m not sure if I will ever go on vacation to the Caribbean since I’ve worked in the area for five years. But I feel like your story needs to be shared. I’d love to help in any way I can. I’m not really sure how I can help but If you’d like to chat please let me know. I’m a filmmaker,(documentaries and short films so far). If you need any thing in that vein let me know.

    • Thank you Andrew. We’d love to talk to you. We have been swamped the past few weeks with the holiday season rush, but hopefully when things calm down a bit we can find some time to meet up.

  105. Melissa Reaume said

    Thank you for this. As a travel agent in Canada this is extremly useful. I myself have had many people ask why use a travel agent rather than book on expedia and other simlular websites. I have many stories I refer to but this is such a great example of why personal experience and insight helps make great decisions when booking a holiday. I wish you all the best and next time I am in Playa del Carmen we will be sure to check out your resort.

  106. My parents and I always do hotel research and bookings independent of the aggregators. As a result, we have found some of the best ‘mom & pop’ hotels and backpackers in the world.

  107. I am so disgusted to hear about this, and so sorry that this has affected you so negatively. My family and I are frequent travelers and know the many pitfalls of booking through these sites, but normally we put up with them. No more. I’ve written them an email, although I don’t know what good it will do, and I’m sharing this on Facebook. Good luck to you and I hope that all this is turned into a good story with a happy ending.

  108. Vn-Japan said

    :(

  109. Quite shocking. One reason we’ve decided to take the slower, surer route and build our network of guests through word of mouth and Facebook, with some advertising thrown in here and there. The degree of unethical behaviour is just apalling – and we’ve seen some of this from real world travel agents as well! I’m sure this will spread and at least a few people will avoid expedia, and contact you guys directly. All the best. Following you guys on FB and helping spread the word.

  110. This is indeed outrageous… We all know that big corporations all want to make money at the end of the day but the way in which Expedia runs its business and deals with its partners – in this case you, it goes to show that the company has no ethics or morals. I am from India and an avid traveler myself – normally all we do is book hotels directly and look up sites like Expedia for hotel reviews and cost comparison. Anyways, your entire story surely has put Expedia in a spot and hopefully soon they do make honest attempts to change the way they do business! Wish you the very best in your endeavor and hopefully, one day, when I save enough money I will visit both of you as a guest at Luna Blue! :) I have shared your story on FB and Twitter.

  111. Now that’s what we call a royally screwed management! Have shared your story on my blog.

  112. Reblogged this on Insane Black Swan and commented:
    Well, the post linked below represents a perfectly screwed up management. Reminds me of a story with the crux that if your boss has decided to screw you, there is hardly anything you can do. More on that story later, for now, read on the post linked below.

  113. Link to reblogged post: http://insaneblackswan.wordpress.com/2012/12/27/if-you-are-a-traveler-you-should-consider-reading-this/

  114. Reblogged this on anushkadaydreamer and commented:
    The Expedia OMG. Pls support the Luna Blue Hotel for Tony & Cheri! Spread the word. — anushkadaydreamer

  115. This is truly awful of Expedia. Thank you for sharing your story to us and I admire the fact that you are standing up to them. My support is with you! And kudos for the FP, you deserve it!

  116. Yelly said

    I have always sung Expedia’s praises because, apart from working for one of its customer service teams, I always got good deals from Expedia. So I read this story with jaded eyes and was really horrified at the way you were treated. I can’t defend Expedia because I no longer work for them and I don’t ask former colleagues about how things are at Expedia. Good on you for speaking out! It’s important that small hotels have a voice because more often than not, the small, independent hotels are where you get excellent service! More power to you!

  117. List of X said

    I suggest that you at least talk to a few lawyers to see if any of them would be willing to take your case for a contingency fee, meaning that they will only get paid if they win a case. You may still have to pay some of the lawyer’s expenses like court filing fees, postage, travel, but you won’t be paying their hourly rates.

  118. Lisa said

    Wow! Thank you for the information!
    Getting ready to vacation in Nassau in one week. Booked through Expedia! If there was any way to undo that, I would! I just can’t believe they do that.

    Never, ever again will I use them.
    I will also share this story with everyone I know!

    • Lisa, you can always cancel with Expedia and book direct. They generally have a rather permissive cancellation policy, since they pretty much force the hotels to offer such. Thank you for your support. :)

  119. Thanks for sharing the info Tony & Cheri!

  120. Rob said

    Hi Tony and Cheri, I read your article in full and I’m sorry about all of the trouble you’ve been through. A while back I thought about buying a property and renting it all year. Although I never did that, I did discover a great blog that helps people market and book their own property. It’s called vacation rental marketing blog and it’s run by Matt Landau. Google it and I think you’ll find his advice very helpful. And then you can kick Expedia to the curb. Good luck.

  121. I won’t be using Expedia again…thanks for letting me know and shame on them!
    Next time I am in the Mayan, I will definately book a room at your Hotel. All the best!!

    Dorothy Coles,
    Royal Executive Limousines
    Edmonton, Alberta

  122. sabparis said

    E-mailed your message to all five addresses you gave – good luck!

  123. Allyson said

    My mind is officially blown, and I’ve shared this with my extensive Facebook network to help spread the word.

  124. Kristi barnett said

    Here is the letter I sent to the president of Expedia:

    I am absolutely appalled to learn how you have treated the owners of Luna Blue in Playa del Carmen! I have been a loyal Expedia traveler for several years for business & pleasure but after hearing this, without some reasonable explanation from you, I will no longer book travel with your company. I don’t always trust everything I read on the Internet, but I have had at least two personal experiences with Expedia that confirm at least part of their claims.

    I realize my choosing not to conduct business with Expedia will have little effect but I cannot justify giving your company one more single dollar of our hard-earned money knowing now how the company operates.

    **I realize you are in Mexico but perhaps there is a way to involve the state attorney general for the US state where Expedia is headquartered. I don’t know that it would amount to anything but it might be worth a try if that avenue hasn’t been explored…

    Good luck & God bless! I will pass along your story…

  125. Reblogged this on goldenmario7.

  126. [...] is a blog I ran across. [green_message]Source: http://playazone.wordpress.com/2012/12/04/expedia-bad-for-the-traveler-bad-for-the-hotel/ [/green_message] Follow me on Facebook at [...]

  127. cftc10 said

    Reblogged this on cftc10.

  128. “If you want to bark with the big dogs, you’d better learn to pee in the tall grass.”

    Hopefully the sharing of your experience will alert people like yourselves and gain the support you deserve. ¡Suerte!

  129. Rebecca said

    I have had nightmare experiences with Expedia and their Hindi sweatshop call center approach to things. So very sorry to hear of your travails. I agree that you may do well to research who the DOJ is for Expedia’s HQ as well as locating the Senator and State Rep for their district as well. Ask for a Legislative assistant who is tasked to research internet business, multinationals, the travel industry, hostelry industry or simply to respond to issues related to businesses HQ’d in their district.

  130. deepster said

    What a terrible story! I just retweeted it. Have you thought about contacting “The Haggler” at the New York Times, he regularly runs stories of consumers being ripped by big companies, and usually seems to get a positive response. I would think he would find your story very interesting.

  131. Chris said

    Its coming full circle – Expedia is also screwing travel customers. Tell you on the fone that there will be no charge to make simple change, re-bill your credit card and promise a refund from initial vacation and only give partial credit – the practice of the dishonest, do not put in writing (an email that can be thrown back at them) and say whatever you need to hear on a fone call.
    Hey Expedia, fewer hotels listing with you and customers that will NEVER COME BACK. I tell everyone – even those that do not ask.

  132. Jim Marsh said

    Interesting and disturbing story.

    I just checked Expedia.ca and Hotels.com and can’t find your hotel listed.

    Tripadvisor ranks it “Ranked #21 of 183 hotels in Playa del Carmen”
    but when trying to book a room…
    “Luna Blue Hotel, Rooms are not available for 04/04/2013 – 05/04/2013
    Change dates , Rooms are not available
    Venere.com”
    “Luna Blue Hotel, Rooms are not available for 08/08/2013 – 09/08/2013
    Change dates , Rooms are not available
    Venere.com”

    You are also not listed with http://www.softvoyage.com which is used in Canada

    I wish you well and will visit the next time in Playa del Carmen
    Jim

    • Jim, simply google Luna Blue Hotel and you will see all of the Expedia links to our website. This is what potential guests see. ALL of these sites show us as having no availability, ever. There are so many websites out there that actually pull from Expedia, it’s amazing. A very nice woman sent us an email today suggesting we use a company she deals with, Rovia. When she said that our hotel was listed there as showing no availability, we dug a little deeper. Turns out that Rovia sells rooms directly from Expedia! The nice woman had no idea. This is the power and reach of Expedia, and this is what hurts small hotels such as ours. BTW, Venere is one is Expedia’s companies. We have been trying to get that TripAdvisor tick box removed to no avial. :(

      Thanks for your support.

  133. Paul Navratil said

    Expedia kiss my ass , never again

  134. Remember that Little David took down the giant Goliath whom everyone thought was invincible. Don’t underestimate the power of the written word and basic information. You are doing a great job at exposing the despicable tactics used by a giant to crush small business owners, and whose objective is to monopolize an entire industry.

  135. Don’t worry. INNsight.com is coming. Built by INNkeepers for INNkeepers. Sign up your property today. http://www.innsight.com/signup

  136. April said

    That’s so scary and awful! I always hated Expedia as a person who travels frequently. I hope your business thrives and does even better than you ever expected. Good luck!

  137. Robin Hodson said

    You need to hunt around for better legal & media advice. Certainly withdraw from subscription, refuse to pay them, get them to take you to Court to save money maybe. Looks like there’s room for a competitor website to expedia.

  138. This claim is a complete lie as the action described is illegal in the United States. This article is just another form of advertising.

    • LOL! The article we wrote is not a “complete lie,” it’s actually the complete truth. A couple of points to remember: 1. Our hotel is not based in the United States; it’s in Mexico. 2. While we agree that Expedia’s actions may have violated the law, the idea that it couldn’t happen because Expedia would never break the law is somewhat laughable. Expedia has been found by several European countries to have broken the law on this and several other issues of how they market and conduct their services. While it would be very nice to believe that no person or corporation ever did anything illegal, that’s simply not the case. But we appreciate your feedback.

  139. Expedia stinks in other ways as well. When I was 56 I applied for a job there. After flying me to Seattle for a battery of interviews, they ultimately decided not to hire me because the manager thought I might not “fit in with the younger people in the department.” It’s one thing when a company practices age discrimination; it’s quite another when they blatantly ADMIT to it.

  140. Thanks for the heads up! I travel so often that I have a travel photography blog! I won’t be using Expedia again. Oh boy, they’re gonna be sorry they messed with you… :)

  141. Tatjana Wolf said

    I have never booked through expedia or any other big site because I found their prices unreasonable as there were often better deals with airlines or hotels directly and it always seemed the good deals and small owner operated hotels were never available. I only use their sites for research, then contact the hotels directly. Good luck, Tony and Cheri! If we ever manage a trip to your neck of the woods, we’ll be sure to contact you.

  142. Nuke said

    I’m so sorry, I’ve emailed all the given executives -expletives included, and hope that Expedia just fades away into oblivion.

    Ugh. I despise bullying in any form.

    I wish you both the very best and hope that you will prosper, you certainly deserve to!

  143. Torben said

    I’ll never use Expedia! And I’ll spread the word …

  144. Saw this on twitter just now. Sent the emails as outlined. Have had a problem recently with lastminute.com who had no out of hours helpline so had to sort it ourselves. I resorted to twitter to complain it seems to be the fastest route to getting an reply from these type of companies. Good luck.
    I hope you win.
    Lesley

  145. Doreen Patterson said

    My husband , two children and myself used Expedia to book a hotel . We will never use them again! When we got to our destination they informed us that our reservations had been cancelled by Expedia. They showed me the email cancelation . It was late and I had two very tired young children . We were able to get another room at an up charge . When I turned home I contacted Expedia to lodge my complaint. They never responses to any of my calls. I kept calling and was assured that the supervisor would contact me in 24 hours. That was years ago and no one ever called me back. So instead of wasting anymore of my time on them I decided to stop calling and tell everyone I know JUST HOW MUCH EXPEDIA SUCKS!!!
    Doreen Patterson
    P.S please pass this on.

  146. Interesting. I’ve never had problems getting bookings at small independent hotels and B&B’s through Expedia. I’ll keep an eye out for this.

  147. Karen said

    Hey guys, just wanted you to know that I am appalled by this story. I have shared via my social networks, and referenced this blog post (with a link) in my own blog, which i will continue to share http://proseotalk.com/2012/12/27/the-secret-of-success-dont-piss-people-off I work with a number of NZ clients in the travel industry, helping them with SEO and online marketing, so if there is anything further we can do to help, just ask. I will also be making sure none of our clients list with them.

  148. [...] heel ander verhaal horen we bij Luna Blue Hotel zelf. “Wij zijn helemaal niet volgeboekt.” Het hotel bleek [...]

  149. proseotalk said

    Reblogged this on Stream of consciousness SEO and commented:
    I have referenced this post already in a previous blog post, but here it is in it’s entirety.

  150. I use these big sites to look for hotels but never book through them as I have always got much better deals and prices by booking directly with the hotel I like. I didn’t realise expedia took such a big cut, but knew they would be loading their fee on top of the hotel costs. I’m passing this on to all my travelling friends. Hope your business recovers.

  151. Rose said

    Aw, this was an incredibly nice post. Taking the time
    and actual effort to make a very good article… but what can I say…
    I procrastinate a lot and don’t seem to get anything done.

  152. CultFit said

    My wife and I are planning a trip to your neck of the woods and rest assured we will be seeking you guys out! Be well and take care.

  153. We appreciate your heads up to this ugliness….we’re on your side.

  154. Brad said

    Bullies. Hopefully your story brings about a change in their corporate behaviour

  155. Reblogged this on littleflowersinthedesert and commented:
    If you travel….ever….you need to read this. Know where your money is going. I will never use Expedia to book anything, companies like this should be taken down.

  156. I am reblogging this for my clients! I always tell them that the incremental savings you may get by booking with a travel mega-site is not worth the headache of actually having to deal with them should you encounter a problem. I love the additional insight you have provided and hope it will encourage my clients and potential clients to book with a reputable travel agent.

  157. Beth said

    I will never use Expedia and am so sorry for the nightmare you (and most likely countless other small businesses) have had to endure from a company you thought would help you. I will express my digusit to the powers that be.
    It looks like your hotel has been taken down from Expedia, and all thier links when googling you go to 404 dead ends, which at the very least should be a start. I wish you success and hope the web support, sharing and response brings you lots of new business!

  158. [...] Okay, off my soapbox for now…  Anyway, please take the time to read the article linked here.  It is definitely worth the time, and will hopefully offer some insight into the real world of online travel mega-sites. Expedia: Bad for the Traveler, Bad for the Hotel by Luna Blue’s Playazone. [...]

  159. wow, I mean I know site like Yelp! bias towards certain establishments, and ive read about how lonely planet writes have sometimes never even BEEN to hostels or restaurants they have never been to (I personally encountered this when ending in a place that was said to have a washer dryer, ok true, if you count the broke down garbage on the front lawn a washer).

    But this blatant and fairly malicious tactic needs to be regulated!

    I love staying at small family owned places, so many good times had at them, and you really get a feel for the area. So sorry you facing this.

    What can we, I, the backpackers, the off the beaten trail, the we want something different travelers of the world do to end this?

  160. [...] -> See this post on one Latin American, family owned, hotels experience with Expedia: http://playazone.wordpress.com/2012/12/04/expedia-bad-for-the-traveler-bad-for-the-hotel/ [...]

  161. [...] -> See this post on one Latin American, family owned, hotels experience with Expedia: http://playazone.wordpress.com/2012/12/04/expedia-bad-for-the-traveler-bad-for-the-hotel/ [...]

  162. [...] -> See this post on one Latin American, family owned, hotels experience with Expedia: http://playazone.wordpress.com/2012/12/04/expedia-bad-for-the-traveler-bad-for-the-hotel/ [...]

  163. Time for the commoner to do some punishing as well – here’s my pledge to never use them ever again!

    “When dictatorship is a fact, revolution becomes a right.” (Victor Hugo)

  164. Hi Tony & Cheri. We’ve got an awesome offer to help you sell more rooms. See, I am also a hotelier who actually had similar issues with Expedia. My district manager made me eat thousands of dollars in costs due to an error they had in their system which overbooked my hotel. At that point, Expedia would not hone up to the loss and their mistake so I decided to cancel contract with them. I also decided to quit my job at eBay and build a platform to help hoteliers like us to sell their rooms. I am launching INNsight.com precisely because of what you write about above. Check out our marketing pages at http://www.innsight.com.

    We actually already have one of our core products out–we can take your hotel website and power it with our technology. We’ll design your hotel’s website for free. Let’s work together and attack Expedia’s achilles together.

    Let INNsight Power Luna Blue Hotel!

    Email me at raj.patel@innsight.com so we can discuss.

  165. Wow. So unsettling. If we want to avoid Expedia, how would you recommend we book flights?

    • We always book directly with the airlines. There are certain tips to know when to look for the best fares. Travel editor Peter Greenberg, http://www.petergreenberg.com, always publishes a list like this, and we have found it very helpful in the past. When you book an airline direct, as with a hotel, you have ONE point of contact for any problems, instead of two. When there are two or more points of contact and there’s any sort of problem, there’s often finger pointing and passing the buck. And again, if you book direct with the airline, the airline isn’t paying anyone a commission, which means that they are more likely to treat you like the valued customer you are. Our two cents worth. :)

  166. noahbody123 said

    Frigging unbelievable. I will NEVER use Expedia again… the Walmart of the travel industry. I’ve shared this link on my social networks…. this story must get to everyone.

  167. Hayley said

    This is outrageous! I use Expedia all the time and I will definitely think twice about doing so in the future! I will re-blog and help spread the word!

  168. Hayley said

    Reblogged this on Life as a Butterfly and commented:
    After using Expedia many, many times, I will think twice before doing so in the future!

  169. TAE said

    I’ve always thought that Expedia was kind of expensive and after booking once or twice with them, I decided to not use their “services” anymore. Their price policy must ramp up prices in the long run…25% – just wow.
    I will recommend your place to my travel-loving famembers : )

  170. sequoia101 said

    I am just appalled and disgusted by expedia’s behavior! Your beautiful story turned into a nightmare, but I hope you get the happy ending you deserve. I will never, ever use expedia again and will spread the word.

  171. What an awful story and I hope you find resolution somehow. Now I’m off to convince my husband that we need a Mexican vacation with an extended stay at Luna Blue.

    Happy New Year!

  172. Java Girl said

    Reblogged this on JavaGirl's Life and commented:
    With 176 different countries from all over the world looking at my blog, I want to reblog this for my global readers. I want every person in every country and continent to reblog this blog. It’s important that people see the lies Expedia is doing.

    • Thank you so much, Java Girl. We really appreciate you doing that. We agree it’s important people hear about what they are doing, as well.

      • Java Girl said

        No problem! Glad I can help. I think it’s terrible what they have done to you and probably to many others around the globe who are only just trying to live their dreams by doing what they love. If I ever head out your way, I’m going to stay at your inn! :)

  173. Laina Goodman said

    What a despicable company! I own a small business too and am outraged at what they are knowingly doing to you. I will never use their site again and will write an email to them telling them so. Good luck to you!!

  174. Puffball 31 said

    I work for an airline. Codesharing is something that airlines have been doing for years, and the operating carrier is required to be advised to the passenger. However, the bookings made on Expedia do not disclose the operating carrier. Myself, and all of my co-workers know that when the passenger says the operating carrier is not on their itinerary, we know that they booked Expedia. We usuallly say, “Did you buy it on Expedia?” Unfortunately in the city I am in the operating carrier can be quite far away, and the passengers sometimes miss their flights.
    I guess at least Expedia is consistent with inaccurate information.

    • Wow, we didn’t know that. But we’re not surprised. Everything at Expedia seems to be a secret. When a hotel receives an Expedia booking, the hotel is told nothing at all about the person except his or her name, length of stay, and the room type requested. We were told by our market manager that Expedia was not allowed to divulge that information due to privacy laws. Haha! We certainly find it out when the person gets to the hotel, so why the secrecy beforehand? The reason for the secrecy of course is that they don’t want the hotel to contact the guest beforehand in case the guest wants to set up transportation, tours, changes, etc. with the hotel–none of which Expedia would then be paid for. It’s a horrible and dishonest business practice, because of course it generally leads to unhappy guests. Oftentimes guests would put in special requests with Expedia (which we do see) which we know we would not be able to accommodate, but of course we had no way of letting the guest know that ahead of time. This makes for an upset guest, and upset guests make for upset hotel owners. But it’s clear that that doesn’t really matter to Expedia. All that matters is that their cash machine continues to run strong.

  175. I am sorry to hear about your experience with Expedia but not surprised because we had problems with our city break booked on their website. The search was made for 3 nights and the confirmation of the booking came back for 1 night only. Their website was malfunctioning and we were unable to cancel our booking straight away. COuldnt get through on the phone because there was a technical fault and were forced to pay extra for the break due to their fault. I have documentary evidence that the error was theirs but never got a sensible response or refund and have taken it up with the Office of Fair Trading. Needless to say I will never use them again. Unethical, fraudulent company with non existent customer service skills, robots could do better!

  176. Wow, I just went to their site & checked it out for myself, trialled various dates, and you’re right! I am a big fan of the smaller family owned hotels and book them whenever I can. I have such a booking (through bookings.com) with a small hotel in France for the new years eve period, and this article prompted me to phone the hotel directly to confirm (thank goodness it is confirmed). I haven’t used Expedia’s hotels.com site before and certainly won’t now! I hope you are managing to get plenty of bookings without them now.

  177. Vince said

    Hi Tony & Cheri

    You’ve also just been published online with a leading national newspaper in the UK too :

    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2254662/Mysteriously-cancelled-reservations-falsely-booked-travel-dates-huge-financial-losses-A-hotels-nightmare-Expedia.html

    I think it’s safe to say readers responses support you all the way. Good luck here from overcast London, maybe I’ll drop in some day. Your place sounds lovely and well worth a visit.

    ps not sure how their (trip advisor) rankings work. Been looking at stats for top 21 (you’re supposedly 21st) .. Checking stats whichever way you cut it you should be much higher. Not sure if its related or not.

    Cheers

  178. I’m sorry Expedia is picking on you guys. A 25% booking fee is horrendous! You don’t need “partners” like that!

  179. Anita Mac said

    Wow…I had no idea about the goings on behind the scenes! I know, as a customer, we have argued with expedia’s bait and switch with package prices going up in the 20 minutes we were on the phone with the customer service agent. Out trip to Prague ended up costing us $200 more from the time the call started to when we actually had it booked!
    I hope that you are able to keep your business afloat…from the photo of your property, it looks like a lovely place…more personal than the big resorts. It is a challenge…as a personal totally addicted to travel, I am always interested in finding interesting properties in far off places, but at the same time…they can be tough to find. As such, I often use the big search engines. I generally cross reference with TripAdvisor to see what people say, although I also take that with a grain of salt! I like concrete reasons as to why people like or dislike a property or service….sometimes people are unrealistic in expectations!
    Good luck – I hope you are able to continue to operate your piece of heaven….the local, mom and pop shops often offer the best memories!

  180. Gigi said

    Copying to Facebook and linked in…
    Social media, here we come!

  181. This sounds incredibly familiar. Complete lack of organization and infuriatingly rude customer service. We lost an extra chunk of change because of their own miscommunication on our honeymoon… we forgot which car rental company we’d booked with them; I called to ask which, and they told me we hadn’t booked a rental. I was pretty sure we had, so I asked “if somehow it turns out we did, will we get our money back from you?” With her reassurance, we just booked another car rental. After we got home, it turned out they HAD booked us one for that whole week, so we’d spent a lot of extra money for no reason. I waited between 25 and 60 minutes on the phone every day for weeks with no result whatsoever (getting disconnected, or transferred to a voicemail where we never got a return call), until finally we got in touch with the right person, who was absolutely nasty, and made it clear it was us against them; there would be no working together. She told me it was MY fault I was missing that page on my itinerary that day.

    It is just completely astonishing that this company can treat people this way, and I hope word spreads far enough that they get what’s coming to them. Good luck in your fight!

    • WOW. That is incredible! We have heard SO many stories like yours, that it is amazing to us that this company can still be in business. But when you have money coming out your ears, like the Expedia conglomerate does, it really doesn’t matter….they may lose you as a customer and us as a bookable hotel, but we will surely be replaced by many others. :(

  182. Willi said

    Very sorry to hear this….I’ve rarely used Expedia, and this article shows why. I have had positive experiences with Hotwire, though and I will continue to use them. It’s always best as a consumer to check all web sites, including the hotel’s own site or customer service line before booking. These third-party services inconvenience everyone.

  183. Richard said

    Well, if I can afford to, my next vacation will be spent at your hotel. Booked directly.

  184. Ben said

    Hi Tony and Cheri,

    This sounds like a very sad story, I found out about it from The Verge.

    I think that I may be able to help you improve you brand image, I am a web designer and programmer and I could offer you a very low rate to design you a new website to help you compete better, does this sound like a proposition you are interested in?

    Thanks,
    Ben

    (P.S. I am sorry, but I probably can’t start full time until mid-2013)

    • Thanks so much for your offer, Ben. While our website may be a little “low tech” we kinda like its look and feel. :) But we are in the process of implementing a solution that would show availability on our site, which we think will really help. We had hoped to have it up by the end of the year, but we have been so busy it probably won’t happen for another month. But we will definitely keep you in mind if we decide to revamp. Thank you again.

  185. Mike Tuchman said

    Further Expedia rip-offs

    Most hotels, in addition to room rate, you are charged taxes which are based on the amount paid. Expedia and other similar are having lawsuits in Florida and lobbying against laws related to taxes. Let’s say the agency sells a room for $100 per night and actually pays the hotel $75 per night. So they are making $25 which is supposed to cover their operating expenses and profits. Where I live the combined Sales and Hotel tax is 13%. So they are charging you $13 in taxes; however they are only remitting 3/4 of that amount, $9.75, to the local government and retaining $3.25 as additional profit.

    • Mike, it wasn’t until we went through this mess with Expedia that we started reading about all their lawsuits, etc. And the ones that totally didn’t surprise us were the ones related to how Expedia allegedly doesn’t pay local taxes. When we first started working with Expedia and saw how they handled taxes, a big red flag went up, and the two of us talked about we guessed Expedia wasn’t paying the taxes they received from the guest. (We also work with booking.com, and taxes never enter into the picture – they bill us our commission on the base rate without the taxes, and we are responsible for collecting the taxes from the guest and then paying then. This makes sense to us.) However Expedia bills the guest 100% – room plus taxes – and then remits 75% back to us – that is, 75% of the room cost and 75% of the taxes. We then pay the portion of the taxes that we received to the local tax authorities…but what happens to that other 25%?? The taxes we collect (a total of 14% in our area) must be paid by us each month to the proper authorities, via check, in two different local tax offices. when we read about how many lawsuits different cities and even countries had against Expedia for this very issue, we knew our initial hunch was right. Apparently Expedia’s legal position is that it is the hotel’s responsibility to pay local taxes. If that is their position, then why do they pocket that 25% of the taxes, instead of passing it along to the hotel to pay to the proper authorities? And if they don’t just pocket that money, then why are so many lawsuits being brought against them for exactly this? That’s a pretty hefty increase in their profit margin, right there, IOHO. Even after paying lawyers to fight all those lawsuits, it seems they are still coming out way ahead.

  186. See link: http://thetaplexpc.yolasite.com/contact-info-links.php
    I don’t put Expedia.com on my website, however, I do put hotwire.com … is that OK Tony & Cheri? I thought they had no relation with Expedia 1-2 yrs. ago… ??
    Also, I put: Travelocity.com & Priceline.com ..which should be good.

    I have this small business also, even though it not travel.. I really have EVEN MORE competition! :( It’s selling computers world-wide. I’m based in Florida, U.S.A. My .com > thetaplexpc.com

  187. Despicable! I hope being Freshly Pressed helps business, and raises awareness.

  188. Kate M. said

    Ugh, every time I hear “Expedia” I shudder. I’d had the worst time dealing with them as a consumer and stopped using them all together in 2008 as a result.

    I wish you the best of luck in getting this resolved. I don’t understand how people and companies can be so horrible.

  189. Kate M. said

    Reblogged this on Kate Ming-Sun Online and commented:
    A warning for anyone thinking of using Expedia:

  190. geckosfoot said

    So awful to hear about your story! You should try posting a link to this out on more social media to get more people talking about it. Try reddit?
    All the best in the future, it looks like a lovely place to stay!

  191. Elsbeth Farrell said

    That is horrible but for some reason I expect this from these big companies. I support you and will spread the word for sure!! Cheers!

  192. Rebecca J said

    Thanks for passing out the information. I tend to stay in hostels – is it the same with hostel booking sites? (hostels.com, hostelworld.com, etc).

  193. Alex said

    I just read your story on “The Verge” and I wish you all the best and that you may overcome this nightmare. The last update said that Expedia had finally deleted the entry. Keep your haed up high. I personally will avoid Expedia and book directly.
    regards

  194. Tony, Cheri,

    It’s really sad to hear your problems with Expedia.

    Just so you know though, they might be big but the Internet is bigger. Use the social media (Twitter, Facebook etc) wisely to gain their attention. Spread it. I guarantee you that nobody likes a bully like Expedia.
    What about booking.com? Do you know if they are connected in any way?

    Giorgos

  195. cheena1 said

    Well I sure got educated today! Thank you very much! I’ve used Expedia in the past, but not no more!!

  196. vyvacious said

    Oh no! I travel frequently but have never used expedia.com to book my travel because I noticed that the numbers just didn’t match up with my own personal searches. So glad I never did. As one (or a few) of the commenters mentioned, I have used booking.com when I book places outside of the US and so far they seem to be pretty good about everything. Please let me know if you hear something differently.

    I really hate that something like this is happening to you. I hope things get better in 2013. Congrats on being Freshly Pressed!

  197. Ho Chi Minh said

    good luck with your hotel, never been to Mexico but your place looks lovely. Might it be an idea to write to
    Tripadvisor too? they are usually my first port of call when researching holidays, I didn’t realise they were affiliated with expedia (whom I have never used).

  198. yerpirate said

    Horrible – a startling example of Corporatism again. I am a small business owner, and find your story heartbreaking. I will NEVER use Expedia and will go out of my way to persuade others of the same. Will put a post about this shortly on my blog.
    We need to think and dream big. I will write to the emails – they are bulllies. Repeated posts need to go out from twitter and facebook with those key words – bullies, fraud, cheats.

  199. deblake60 said

    If I were you, I would sue Expedia since they are purposely hurting your business. Think of all the money you could have made if Expedia was truthful in the first place?

  200. Shared on Facebook, and it looks like it’s getting a pretty high rate of “re-shares.” I am not a serial sharer and don’t bother unless it seems important, so if people like me share it, I imagine this entry will end up with quite a few views. :) I will be sending an email to all the addresses you listed as well (and thanks for including those); I am going to also indicate in my emails that I will never use either Expedia or Hotels.com and will actively discourage anyone I know from doing so. I’m no serial boycotter, but this is ridiculous.

    Of course I don’t know you, and I am not familiar with your hotel, though it looks like a lovely place to stay. However, though my husband and I haven’t used Expedia except to search, we have had the experience of having hotels we were interested in show no available rooms on their site. I’m sorry now that we didn’t call directly as it seems that may not have been true. On the plus side, honestly, if this hadn’t happened, I probably would have never heard of your hotel. I hope you get some eventual increase in business/income from this whole mess.

    NOTE: I just checked Expedia and Hotels.com, and I cannot find your hotel on their site. Looks like you did get *some* reaction from them.

  201. Toni and Cheri,

    If you have the funds, I would investigate doing an ad campaign on YouTube and on Facebook and Google adwords. Screw these places like expedia, priceline, etc. They will only screw you over, obviously.

  202. Shirley said

    They may have finally listened — I just looked for your hotel on Expedia and did not find it at all.

  203. Chad Miller said

    Saw this on Twitter. Expedia used to get my business for air travel once or twice a year. After reading this and the Verge article, that dropped to zero. Good luck to the both of you.

  204. Laila Matarwe said

    I am a small Independent Travel Agent, been in business since 1984. We had a store front agency for over 20 years, and recently moved our business home in 2005. We are still independent. I have always cautioned my clients against booking with Expedia and the like, and this is just ONE more example of why people should stay away. Book with your local Travel Agent!! We have our own wonderful suppliers, and would never subject our clients to experiences like the ones described here, and from so many of the people commenting here. I am SO sorry to hear your tragic story…I’ve heard of your hotel before but I have not had an opportunity to book it for my clients, Do you work with Travel Agents? Are there other Tour Operators that rep your property? Many years ago, when Classic Vacations was bought by Expedia, I stopped booking with them, just for the mere fact that they were owned by our competition! I do not regret doing so. There are a myriad of other options for us, and I have not missed them a bit! Good luck to you, I will do my best to spread the word for you…

  205. I never actually BOOK travel on Expedia, but sometimes use them to find hotels that are willing to negotiate on price. I figure if a hotel is willing to take a huge cut in their rates, I’ll call them directly and see what I can do. But my experiences in actually USING Expedia are almost always bad — bait and switch, screwed up reservations, actual lies, etc.

  206. As a travel agent, I’m sorry to hear of your troubles – small boutique hotels are some of the best for travelers to experience and I’m always happy to refer such hotels. I’ve shared your post with my facebook group and hope your story will help other travelers decide whether they want to continue to support such an organization. I’m sure you’ll find a way to be even more successful now that you’ve severed ties with them.

  207. Robert Cox said

    Hi Tony and Sheri. As a home based travel agent I often get to compete with Expedia, Travelocity and the other online travel sites. So I have some empathy with your situation. Perhaps people should be aware that the price they pay on these sites is often the same (or close) to what they pay booking through a home based travel agent (but with a personal service). I’m always looking for smaller hotels to recommend so this story might do both of us some good. Appreciate it if you would message me through Facebook so I can get more info.

    PS I can be found at http://www.facebook.com/CuriousTraveller and a thank you to the UnMarketing guy on Facebook posting this story.

  208. Julie said

    I wanted to let you know that I contacted Expedia via Twitter (@expedia) and let them know that I am an Expedia customer and Expedia Rewards Member who will no longer use any of their affiliated sites until this situation is rectified. Best of luck to you and your business.

  209. C.D. said

    This has likely been said, but there are tonnes of attorneys out there who will work for what is known as contingency fee – no upfront cost to you, and they take a percentage (usually 33%) of whatever money they win at the tail end. Conversely, if this is a rampant issue as you claim, you could also take a class lead position and file a class action against Expedia – again, no costs involved.

  210. Luigi Vendittelli said

    I am disgusted by what Expedia has done here! The situation seems very common practice for them. I recommend everyone to visit this hotel and truly enjoy your stay in Mexico!!

    Good luck and stay strong!!

    A true supporter

  211. Rich said

    I’m also a travel agent who has shared this on our Facebook page – http://www.facebook.com/CarefreeVac, and also on my personal FB page. I’ve also posted a link on a travel agent forum, and other agents are doing the same. I’ve heard numerous stories over the years over clients not getting what they thought they were booking with Expedia, along with the other big online agencies.

    I wish you the best of luck in your battle with Expedia, and I hope that you are able to resolve your issues to your satisfaction. In the mean time, the more of us that share your story, then hopefully, the more Expedia will be affected.

  212. I teach workshops and shoot fashion internationally and often am involved in making travel recommendations. From this date forward Expedia and its associated businesses will play no part in either my own plans or what I suggest to others. Just the opposite.

    Might I suggest that you do a tight little video delineating and illustrating what has been done to you and then get it up on youtube. The reach of a viral video can be astonishing.

    You have all my respect for your resistance.

    jock sturges

  213. dinkerson said

    I’m so glad that I read this post. I’m done with them. Had no idea about any this.

  214. mandyf said

    Reblogged this on Views From The Bullpen and commented:
    There is a lot of talk in the news these days about the difficulties facing small business owners around the world. Nowhere are these difficulties felt as deeply as in the travel industry. The rapid growth of the control of travel by big business with its multi-billion-dollar internet and advertising power has caused many small travel business owners to be pushed aside. As a result the consumer ends up with limited access to travel choices while the Mom and Pop hotel or tour or shop ends up on the brink of extinction. We know this firsthand, as we are one of those small businesses being unfairly crushed under the weight of travel industry giant Expedia. In fact we think Expedia is trying to put us, and small independent businesses like ours, out of business. And here’s why:

    Expedia and its many affiliates, including Hotels.com and Venere.com, invite people to come to their sites to book our hotel, the Luna Blue Hotel. Yet when people get to these websites they are told that our hotel is completely occupied for all dates now and in the future. If someone calls on the telephone, they are told that our hotel is going out of business! They are then directed to book another more expensive hotel, which provides Expedia greater commission. It seems that Expedia and its affiliates use small hotels like ours to attract people to their sites so they can get those people to book with bigger resorts. It is the classic “bait and switch” scam.

  215. Elizabeth B. said

    As a General Manager of a franchised IHG property, let me assure you that Expedia rarely gets it right even for corporate hotels. The ‘that’s not the room I booked’ scenario plays out for us on a daily basis. Guests do not understand how 3rd party intermediaries function and often take out their frustration on the staff and by calling our corporate office to complain about our incompetence. Sigh.
    Much luck with your endeavor and following your dream. Your property looks beautiful and I wish you much success!

  216. Sonya K said

    I had no idea that Expedia did such shady business and that they took such a huge portion of the money from the hotels. I am never booking through them again! Thank you so much for sharing this information with the general public. I’ve shared this on my FB page and I hope my friends will share it as well. I am proud that you took a stand against this “giant” and have sent an email to them expressing my disgust! Thanks again!

  217. Iluvmexico said

    I am a new travel agent & the reason I opened my own home-based travel agency was because of the terrible lack of service offered by Expedia. I had to make a simple change on a booking…well that was a lot to ask! I was on the phone for over 2 hours!! I was transferred & put on hold so many times, I lost count!! My sister in law had to make the change, too, but was on hold for 4 hours!!

  218. [...] via Expedia: Bad for the Traveler, Bad for the Hotel « Luna Blue’s PlayaZone. [...]

  219. Bruce MacDonald said

    Thanks for the enlightening article on your experiences. Have you tried contacting Rick Steves? Although he doesn’t do Mexico, he seems to have great ethics and could certainly be influential if he did an investigation and confirmed your claim. Imagine a Rick steves expose of Expedia’s ugly business practices in Europe.

    also, I wonder what you think of airbnb. We have used them four times this year and got terrific places to stay at reasonable prices, all with individuals and small businesses. It seems they are doing good things but I don’t know the industry and wonder if they also have a back story.

  220. wlane36 said

    Reblogged this on Wlane36's Blog and commented:
    How childish and ridiculous for any company that even remotely supposed to be professional. It makes me angry to hear it when any larger corporation takes advantage of the little Guy.

  221. Reblogged this on thepoliblog and commented:
    The corporate behavior described here goes beyond unethical. It is immoral, and since it deliberately misleads the public, it is probably illegal. It certainly deserves to be investigated by the FTC, by the Better Business Bureau, by Consumer Reports, and by the travel writers for major newspapers.

  222. PiedType said

    Outrageous! I’ll never again book anything though Expedia.

    If you haven’t already, send your story to travel editors at all the major newspapers. Don’t wait for them to pick it up. A negative story in the New York Times, for example, would reach a lot of people and give Expedia a very big black eye.

  223. nisalatp said

    Can not agree more, As a hotelier in the past. I personally have felt the pain myself.

  224. Inge said

    Done! Sent emails to all… Absolutely disgusting how they ave treated you! Will no longer use Expedia or affiliates to search for hotel or travel bookings!

  225. [...] this article. It’s the saga of a hotel in Mexico that has been bullied by Expedia. The piece (as well as the original blog post) and the comments are well worth the read. The piece offers an eye-opening glimpse into the modern [...]

  226. Katerina said

    My family owns four small hotel properties in Greece. We are considered to be a medium business and unfortunately we also face these kind of problems more or less. Not only with Expedia but with almost all major Tour Operators acting as a medium. Misleading guests by using their tricks is a common practice. They are so many ( including affiliates) that we have lost control and i believe that thousands of businesses are in this party. What we do is to find ways ( offline and online) to gain trust from our guests, get to know them better and use some kind of a pull practice with good customer service. No matter how small or big you are, you can do this. Then you see that the number of direct guests increases and the repeaters percentage grows. So, we keep going with this old but strong recipe. What it takes is a good website for your business and see where your guests hung out and be there to listen and talk to them. Luna Blue needs to spend time talking with their guests now and stop dealing with Expedia in any way because it does not worth it. The smaller business you are the better control you have. That is my advice to the Luna Blue owners.

  227. khanhuda said

    I agree with you, I had been to Expedia many times, with my parents , and have felt the pain too.
    WISH YOU A HAPPY NEW YEAR!

  228. Dan said

    Your website is down for me. Why?

    • Hi Dan. Our server has been experiencing some problems. Our site has been going down sporadically. It seems OK now. Keep trying.

      • Dawn-Ann said

        Because this story is making its rounds and a lot of folks are probably clicking through to your site, it could be your service provider’s servers can’t keep up. This little article may be one of the best things you’ve ever done to promote your business! :)

  229. Dawn-Ann said

    Thanks for this informative article, Tony & Cheri. I and some of my friends have shared it on Facebook. Let’s get the word out!

    I actually caught Expedia doing this to me one time when I tried to book a cheap flight to somewhere. There were, according to them, no WestJet flights available in my time slots and I thought that was REALLY weird. So I went directly to WestJet’s site and had no problem booking the flight I wanted there. I have never used Expedia since. Dirty rotten scoundrels!

  230. GalOnTrip said

    i have noticed before that expedia offers are not as cheap as they claim, that’s why i haven’t used it and thank god i don’t. what i didn’t know that expedia and the gang are scumbags until you told me. thanks for sharing. i’ll share with my travel lover friends, coincidentally one of them has used expedia service many times.
    as you are experienced in the field, what do you think about another giant site like http://www.booking.com? are they actually cheap? so far i have no problem using them. but perhaps you know the truth that amateur travellers are not aware?
    thanks for your help.

  231. Reblogged this on mulled thoughts…and cider and commented:
    I’ve never used Expedia, but I sure won’t ever use them in the future. Beware my friends!

  232. Karen murray said

    Outrageous! I will be boycotting Expedia for sure. I haven’t used them for a very long time because, as you say, there are no real “deals”. Even if it did cost more I would do anything but book through them.

  233. Dena said

    I will not use Expedia again! I have sent the email! Disgusting business practices!

  234. Pamela said

    I have sent protest emails to all the addresses you listed as follows:

    Expedia…I strongly condemn how Expedia has treated the Luna Blue Hotel in Playa del Carmen, Mexico, as outlined in Expedia: Bad for the Traveler, Bad for the Hotel. Please stop blocking their reservations. We think it is grossly unfair for Expedia to treat small businesses in such manner.”

    I would expect a large organization such as yourself to be a leader in the tourism industry, but I expected you would be leading in INTEGRITY, HONESTY AND FAIRNESS…I guess I was wrong. You should be ashamed of your actions against the Luna Blue Hotel and all other small properties who are being treated the same way. There are a lot of LOUD voices on the Internet and we WILL speak up!!!

    On the first day of this New Year…do the right thing for Luna Blue.

    Yours sincerely,
    Pamela Jessen

    Good luck to you in this fight. I can guarantee you I will never use their services!

    Pamela

  235. Melissa Schneider said

    I have just written everyone on that list and email to let them know that no one I know will ever be booking through Expedia again. This will also hold true for any large online business the same as Expedia because now who knows where this corruption ends. I am so sorry for what you went through and if I ever come to Mexico I know exactly where I’m staying (my brother’s girlfriend is Mexican so he travels there a lot as well). Shame on Expedia.

  236. I have sent the email to all listed addresses, I wish you the best of luck in this fight. Thanks for sharing your story, I will definitely remember this for my next travels. Thanks to wordpress for Freshly Pressing you. :-)

  237. Terie Kay said

    Reblogged this on Resort & Luxury Real Estate, Co. and commented:
    I don’t like to focus on the negative aspects of business & travel, etc., however I found this to be a credible experience by Tony & Cheri of Luna Blue Hotel on Mexico’s Caribbean coast. Certainly, booking direct is always a better option. I have experienced problems when using online travel services, such as the rooms not being as described, etc. When you book your own hotel, cars, flights, etc.. you are dealing direct with the staff and get your information from the “horses mouth”.
    Happy travels & of course, look me up if you ever come to Cape Cod!
    Peace!
    Terie

  238. I just shared this via the twitter button. If everyone does their part to spread the word, maybe it will help other independent small hotels!

  239. Well done by telling consumers the truth. I’ve passed this along to some reporter friends of mine. GOOD LUCK. And I will share with everyone I know.

  240. We will be sharing this story across all our websites Expedia needs to be taken down a peg or two

  241. edith1812 said

    i have turned to other online booking sites for several years , after i compared Expedia is pricier for everything. Playa de Carmen , i loved that once tiny beach , def will try Luna if i am back again

  242. Julien LG said

    thanks for the story. Will reblog this on my blog, with your permission of course. What a horrible story. I feel for you, and you have my vote!!!
    Sincerely
    J

  243. Shocking…. And thank you for sharing… Will definitely email the contacts at expedia…

  244. lanilakwatsera said

    Hi Tony and Cheri,
    I have yet to travel in your part of the world but I am sending much prayers to you on your fight against a corporate bully. I hope things will get better (it will!). Never using Expedia again.

  245. That’s a horrible story. I didn’t know this either. To be honest I have always booked through them, assuming they were fair and customer oriented. However, this is a complete different story. I am so sorry to hear this! Sending my prayers and light to you!

  246. lynned83 said

    Absolutely shocking!! I’ll be sharing this with all my friends and family and will never use Expedia again. Well done for having the “cojones” to tell the truth!!

  247. OyiaBrown said

    Reblogged this on Oyia Brown.

  248. paytonjade said

    This is so unfortunate. I’ve booked several vacations and hotel stays through Expedia. I will definitely be thinking twice about this in the future.

  249. Julien LG said

    Reblogged this on All our World Views and commented:
    Must read. I never knew about this.

  250. Kelly said

    Posted to Facebook and Twitter. Good luck folks…..hope you kick some corporate butt!!

  251. [...] [...]

  252. Lexi said

    Wow! I recently did a search for a trip we planned to take to Prince Edward Island and was surprised when 6 out of 8 of the hotels came up with as sold out. Thanks to your post I called directly and lo-and-behold, there was availability and LOTS of it! Thanks so much for sharing your story!!

  253. Sarah N. said

    I am so glad I came across your story!! I am planning a Cancun trip this quarter and would be thrilled to stay at your resort and of course will book directly through your site. I am sorry this has happened and am glad that you are responding constructively and in the best interest of the travelers!

  254. Carla said

    Thank you for sharing your horrible experience! I learned a lot today, and I’ll be sure to reblog this…

  255. Carla said

    Reblogged this on Bon Voyage by Barbour: The Travel Blog and commented:
    Sharing this story about the reality of online booking agents; it’s not always what it seems.

  256. I’m sure you aren’t the only small hotel that this is being done to. Couldn’t you find others and file a class action suit? That would take a LARGE chunk out of their revenue.

  257. Derek Jones said

    We were jumping back and forth between all the biggies (Expedia, Hotwire, Hotels.com) etc. looking for a hotel in Paris to celebrate our honeymoon. One caught our eye immediately. Le Secret de Paris was a beautiful, boutique hotel with Parisien themed rooms, centrally located and, although more expensive than we were initially looking, we thought it would be perfect for a once in a lifetime celebration.
    Then the booking process began. The price differences between the websites kept changing, and when attempting to finalize, we were told that although there was availability, we would have to change rooms every night of our three night stay. This seemed a little bizarre to us, so I eventually clicked over to the hotel’s own website. What a difference. There was availabilty for all nights we requested, and their exceptional customer service and replies to questions made us reserve directly with them. The price remained close to what Expedia was charging, yet when we got to the hotel they welcomed us with free drinks at the bar while the bellboy took our suitcases up to our room. While we enjoyed our cocktails, the front desk staff asked us what we would be looking to do while staying in Paris. We accepted their recommendation for a local restaurant and enjoyed one of the best meals of our lives there. Upon returning to our hotel, we found a bottle of Mumm’s and two glasses. When I asked about this, we were told it was complimentary and a thank you for booking on their website. She also laughed when she heard we were told we would have to change rooms every night of our stay. Without making any allegations, she said some companies like to ‘discourage’ guests.
    On a final note, we had an amazing time exploring Paris. Our hotel was perfect, and, when all was said and done, we decided that with such amazing themed decor in all the rooms, we would change rooms every night after all. We did nothing but leave our suitcases packed, and every day when we returned the front desk would give us a key card to another fabulous room. The last one being on the first floor, with double windows that opened right up to allow us to sit on the window sill for hours, watching Paris go by. Incredible experience. One that would not have happened had we believed everything Expedia was saying.
    Unfortunately it is a bit of a catch 22 situation here, as I never would have found Le Secret de Paris without the big guys advertising it, but by going straight to their website, our honeymoon turned out exactly as planned.

  258. 7rin said

    Reblogged this on The Re-blog Blog.

  259. I’m so sorry this is happening to you. It’s bad enough that travellers have to suffer from Expedia’s actions (I have had so many negative experiences Expedia and cancelled my account a few years ago); I always had a feeling that Expedia couldn’t be good for small businesses and am sad that you’ve confirmed this is the case. Wishing you the best of luck as you repair your brand and your business.

  260. Susan said

    I do not, and will not, use a booking engine like Expedia. I am so sorry this is happening to you.

  261. What a terrible story – I am guilty of using Expedia in the past and have experienced many occasions where hotels are fully booked far into the future, now I know why. I won’t be using any of their sites in the future. Have sent off the emails and will send this story to others. I wish you well with your fight which I hope with become easier with the power of social media.

  262. JDN said

    I’ve used hotels.com for a booking in Asia last year. Although there were no significant issues, I was invited to submit a review of the hotel online, yet it never appeared. I guess it wasn’t positive enough and it was discarded.

    I also tried redeeming my Priority Club points for a hotel stay in Penang. PC’s web site stated that they have no blackout periods, yet the room I wanted was available only for the full price and not for points. That’s a blackout in my view.

    I’m just pointing out that, from my experience, the big outfits like Expedia are not above playing dirty tricks on their customers. If I’m ever in the Playa area, I will definitely consider Luna Blue – directly!

  263. I am a reporter from Canada and I have shared this post with every one of my media contacts!!! I hate when I see the big boys playing dirty to push out the little guys. Its not fair and major BS. i have never been to mexico nor have I ever used expedia, but we are planning a trip in the near future and your establishments looks like it is perfect for us. Hopefully, I will have a chance to come and say hello.

  264. Alex said

    Shocked by this bad business practise. Definitely spreading the word.

  265. KT. said

    If 259 friends tell 259 friends, and so on, and so on, and so on…… All the best Tony & Cheri! Keep fighting!!

  266. Nancy said

    I never booked through Expedia and the like because I found on my own that they didn’t offer a discount. I’ve mentioned this fact to a few people. However, I think this is a better reason not to use those travel websites. A message worth passing along.

  267. Eve said

    I once booked through Expedia and the next year they said the hotel was full though it was not. I have never booked through them again. Hopefully people will learn not to use travel websites.

  268. Ryan said

    Some people will do anything for a nickel. They can’t buy their way in to Heaven! Expedia douchebag execs have already booked their last trip to the hottest destination on the go… for an eternity. :)

  269. Everyone seems to want their multiple discounts on top of coupons on top of the cheapest deal the can get. The best discount in conjunction with a coupon on top of the cheapest deal you can get isn’t necessarily the best and tends to lead to lower reviews due to higher expectations. Honestly, a mom and pop place might cost a little more, but you get far more bang for you buck and generally leave with a far more satiating experience.

    I’m not much of a blogger or tweeter, but I have certainly reposted this on my facebook, which a friend of mine posted on my facebook. Some of my facebook friends are HUGE travel buffs and excessive bloggers! They are pretty upset about this, as I am.

    I have been using tripadvisor and expedia, mostly as search engines, for quite a few years. With the research I have done on this article, I don’t even want to use them as search engines any longer. I’m all for supporting my local small business owners by booking personally. I even offer to pay a credit card processing fee, if not included in a purchase.

    This is far worse than groupon. The internet can be your largest ally or most infuriating enemy. It’s a damn shame.

    I think your website shows all of the beauty of your hotel. I don’t see why you need to pay someone else to show it off.

  270. vishanki said

    dear, Mr Tony

    As i was going through your post i realized that it would happening many people. I thing it should be made a legal matter & ask the sites to pay heavy claim for lose of name & money. Try approaching hotel association & file legal complaint against them.

    1. they have no rights to overcharge than a rack rate.
    2. If the client made booking with you through expedia & if expedia try to cancel the reservation. they have to bare the cost. plus they have to pay cancellation & retention cost. as per your cancellation policy before you made a contract.
    3. make a record of everything & present it in front of lawyer. he will be right person to help you.
    4. Find people like you & file petition against expedia.
    5. try send bulk mailer regarding your complaint to other small hotelier & make social awareness against such site.

    as expedia just launch in india. our country in 3rd world country with large population, its tuft to deal with big sharks like them. as they take way the major business & its hard for small agents to survive.

    you have our support!!!

    best of luck for your fight with expedia!

    regards
    vishanki

  271. Mirage said

    Not that I will likely travel to Playa Del Carmen, but I really dislike injustice and bullying, I hope things work out for you. I mailed the adresses, I guess that’s all I can do since I am already not using Expedias services.

  272. Sue Florance said

    Toni & Cheri I am a very small operator in Australia partnered with Expedia. Since listing I have not had many booking confirmed with them however have had problems receiving any sort of contact from my regional manager with a few issues I need to discuss the bookings I have received to date. It seems that this person is invisible. One issue I am trying to resolve is a cancellation received by Expedia at peak time & 48hrs prior to the guest booked arrival date with the other being a confirmed reservation booking made where the guest is about to stay and I have been charged more than the 25pc commission agreed to …. Dom25INT it is very frustrating when no response is forthcoming … I use the virtual Cc option for my payment & have had a couple of bookings when the guest has come & gone and we have been delayed with processing the payment leaving us in a position where we cannot get paid for our services rendered and unable to resolve the issue due to a “no response” situation from Expedia personnel … Someone from Expedia rang me the day before 24 hrs before X-mas day to talk to me about a change to their system, but was unable to assist me with these issues …… However they said they would direct my problem onto the right department requesting them to contact me direct to resolve the issue. Still waiting for this response. After reading your story this evening I now feel very uneasy about my partnership with Expedia. Thank you from one small accommodation operator to another very small operator for publishing your story. I will now be assessing my worth with this “so called Partnership” . I will also be circulating your story with my industry colleagues. Well done for alerting others to the problems you have been experiencing with this company.

  273. Marc said

    Here’s a way to take advantage of Expedia … use their website to search for hotels, then find the hotel’s website yourself and contact them directly. Up your nose with a rubber hose Expedia!

    • Marc said

      Further note regarding the pricing of these mega travel websites – My wife and I were travelling through the US a few months ago and we were looking for a place to spend the night in mid-new-york state on our way back home. We did what we thought was the smart thing – we stopped at a local McD for a coffee and to use their free wi-fi with our laptop, found a local hotel and booked it through hotels.com only to arrive at the hotel and realize that their walk-in rate was $20 cheaper than hotels.com … which is why we now do the above when we book any travel. Thanks for putting your story out there – it confirms and validates our actions. We will never use these sites other than to search again.

  274. jen said

    My favourite small places to stay are never listen on the big players like Expedia.
    However I did look and you get rave reviews on TRIPADVISOR! YEAH BABY!
    Smart travelers always use trip advisor…… lazy people use expedia!

    By the way this is hitting up here in Canada and many are refusing to use expedia and their affiliates.

  275. Karen said

    Wow … who knew Expedia wanted to get a bad reputation by hurting the little guy. Karma will come back to haunt them as this link is being sent everywhere and posted on tons of sites. I wish you all the best in 2013, dont give up and never surrender. Good things are coming your way.

  276. Nancy said

    You know, I had no plans to visit Mexico, and had never heard of Playa del Carmen. However, after looking over all your wonderful TripAdvisor reviews and you website. I am adding your hotel to my list of places to visit. It will likely not be until 2014 or later, as I already have my 2013 vacation planned.

  277. Lisa said

    In the past I’ve almost exclusively made my travel arrangements through Expedia. Yeah… not going to do that again.

  278. Wow. I am really at a loss for words as to how Expedia has treated you. I have never in the past booked anything with Expedia, and never have recommended them to anyone I know. I’m an independent Travel Professional from Eastern Canada and will promote your hotel website whenever I possibly can. Good luck to you both and I will definitely pass the word along to my readers as well.

  279. danizilla said

    Very good to know, I never considered this before. I will help spread the word. I love visiting small locally owned hotels and private rentals when I travel, and will keep your hotel in mind if I ever make it to Playa del Carmen. Thank you for speaking up.

  280. danizilla said

    Reblogged this on Danizilla Conquers the World and commented:
    Take a look, especially if you’ve ever used sites like Expedia or hotels.com, help keep small businesses afloat by spreading the word!

  281. Sara said

    I stopped using expedia to book travel when I was accidentally given the wrong receipt at checkout, and saw the difference in price. The poor desk clerk really didn’t know what he was doing, and gave us a receipt that reflected what the hotel received as payment – so I knew what the difference was. After that, I still used expedia to search for hotels (and flights, for that matter), but after deciding on a hotel I now book directly with the hotel. However, I didn’t know they were also saying hotels were full when they weren’t. That’s so sad, that a company feels the need to stoop so low as to actually “punish” other businesses. Good luck to you, hope you’re enjoying your little piece of paradise, and are able to do so for a long time to come!

  282. Corrina said

    HI Guys, I’m a Home Based Travel Agent in Canada and we (myself and other agents) are always battling with Expedia! They are always pulling the old Bait and Switch. I tell ppl if you want to book with them go ahead, you are playing travel roulette with a company who doesn’t care a thing about you or your vacation, they just want your money. Bottom LIne. They also have a clause in fine print under the terms and conditions that gives them the authority to charge your credit card with any additional fees etc they deem necessary.

    I wish you both all the best and would love to visit your lovely hotel someday.

  283. Kristy said

    Expedia has been bad news for the travel industry in MANY more ways as well!!! It all started with the Mom and Pop travel agencies, providing excellent customer service, unbelievable trips to their loyal clients for many years. Expedia came out and all of a sudden travel agencies are being offered little to no commissions to book the same type of travel. Yet the loyal clients compare what travel agencies offer to online Expedia deals. Travel agents can get the same price as Expedia – the only difference is agencies have had to start charging service fees on the packages because they are given NO commission to sell that product. So not only small hotels are suffering – travel agencies have suffered from day one of Expedia. Travel agencies don’t have any recourse with Expedia either – they just got the crap end of the deal from the beginning of online travel sites. What I would recommend being a travel agent is to try and get your hotel noticed by Canadian & American travel agencies to start. If you have won awards & offer outstanding service for something so personal it will sell very well!! When a travel agent gets good service from a provider and the client gets good service in destination as well – it will become a well used and trusted property. This is the direction travel agencies have started to take – taking the things Expedia can’t get their hands on, which is a hidden gem, and marketing it to their clients. It works VERY well and is the main reason travel agencies haven’t gone out of business due to online shoppers. It may take a while to get things rolling, but once people contact you directly and do not go online to Expedia, you will be booked solid all year round! Good Luck to you both & I really hope this negative attention to Expedia makes people realize it is NOT the way of the travel industry, and to go back to how it used to be. See a travel agent, have a personal experience – and someone with the knowledge to send you to a hidden gem like the Luna Blue Hotel & Bar!!

  284. Cheryl said

    I am a Canadian travel agent who used to work for a company that Expedia owns. I used to get the same complaints about the worst rooms or being moved to different hotels than what I booked! So glad I work for a different agency now. I have shared this article on Twitter and with my fellow agents as we all HATE Expedia. Maybe people will finally understand they get what they pay for.

  285. Robert Larade said

    If ever we are going your way for sure we are staying at your place !!!

  286. travelpalsbc said

    As a “veteran” accredited travel agent I always say that it would be unethical of me to book with Expedia or any other third party booking site when we have a myriad of valuable travel partners at our fingertips. If these sites show a lower rate than what I am able to access, I will always call the property directly and negotiate the rate for my client. I started in the travel industry with just a phone and one reservation system…..it’s an ever changing world with the internet being available to everyone and I encourage people to use the world wide web and research destinations but please give me the opportunity to finalize the travel arrangements so things like this don’t happen. I applaud you for taking the bull by the horns and hopefully with the story written by The Verge, Expedia will think this through and make the wrong right!. Keep doing what you’re doing! Happy New Year!

  287. candice said

    Great article!
    I am sending this to others I know in the travel industry. A great reminder to book directly with the hotels/vacation rentals or small independent travel agents. Stay small, stay local, stay real!

  288. samantha said

    I sent the emails, and will not be using Expedia in the future. Thank you for taking the time to write out the full version of your story. Good luck!

  289. This article shines the light on one of the biggest problems of the travel industry – or I guess all industries, when we consider the effects of these low-value, huge, cyber-corporations have on smaller, brick and mortar shops.

    It now also makes sense why so many times I’ve seen great hotels “sold out” on hotels.ca, but still have space available either booking direct or through other non-expedia suppliers.

    Good luck with your future, this is just one more challenge you’ll get over. Glad to see this post getting the attention it deserves!

  290. Reblogged this on wanderlustygirl and commented:
    I knew not to trust these kinds of sites because of my experiences with them at my job, but I had no idea they were this bad. Honestly, you may think they’re great until you have a problem. Then the gloves come off and you’re fighting a losing battle. Do yourself a favor and avoid these sites at all costs. Like these fine folks say, book your room directly with the hotel.

  291. areawoman said

    Wow, this is outrageous. Will certainly be sharing on Facebook! One of my most favorite vacations ever was to Playa del Carmen. If we ever go back, we will have to check you guys out!

  292. FTC said

    I’m sure someone has mentioned, but just in case: if you can provide substantive proof of bait and switch practices you can take Expedia to trial, or at least a customer can. I’ve been bait and switched and had thhe BBB help sort the problem. The FTC gives the benefit of the doubt to the non offending party: http://www.ftc.gov/bcp/guides/baitads-gd.htm

  293. Reblogged this on EditorEtc LLC and commented:
    Read this…

  294. R. J Black said

    Reblogged this on Jaded Truth.

  295. Adam Baker said

    This really is terrible but it’s great to see this blog and facing up to Expedia. A good start is to get this out there and make this issue go viral so that it may have some small impact until it gets to the right person and becomes a nagging issue for Expedia. I work in the Marketing Dept for the leading, local in-country travel agency in Costa Rica – Costa Rica Vacations, and have re-posted this to our Social Network sites so that a few more thousand people can read about this and never use Expedia again to save such business’s this terrible problem and fight the good fight! I hope you have many more responses!

  296. susan bewcyk said

    I had a problem with expedia before too and it was false advertising. They gave me a $100 credit towards a future booking for the hassle. Good greif…

  297. Had no idea, and am so glad to read your story. We just booked our annual trip to the Mayan Riviera (staying at an AI in Playa DC) but in the future would love to stay at the Luna Blue!!

  298. Lynne B said

    I read about this on a friend’s blog, and she reaches a huge audience. I book all the travel for my company, and because of the crappy way Expedia used and abused you, I will NEVER use them again!
    Best wishes for your continued success, and the next time I book travel to your neck of the woods, I will go to your website directly. Thank you for sharing your experience and giving us all the heads-up. Expeida and their affiliates are about to get a very rude awakening!

  299. Morri Major said

    Read the article and sent a link to everyone of my contacts.

  300. Vee said

    Coming late to the party here, but my partner and I recently booked a hotel through Expedia in Chicago. On the website, it stated that the hotel provided free wi-fi. When we arrived there, we found out that the hotel only allowed for free internet in the lobby. If you wanted it in the rooms, you would have to pay a fee. Had we known this beforehand, we would’ve booked a different hotel. When we informed Expedia about this, also taking out our issue with the BBB, we were told by Expedia that they shifted information on the hotels they advertise by the guests who told them about them. In short, a guest would have to provide the information to Expedia. They won’t do their own research and apparently they don’t listen to the hotels.

    They then changed their website on said hotel to reflect the correct information. We will likely never get that refund, but we’ll never book with them again. It’s no surprise what they did to you guys. No one should have that sort of treatment.

    • Our guess is that the hotel knew the information was incorrect and tried unsuccessfully to get it changed. Or, that they didn’t know because Expedia changed it on its own (that used to happen to us occasionally). It’s very frustrating to be a hotel and know that the information about your business being posted all over the internet is incorrect and not being able to do anything about it. Trying to get content correct on Expedia is maddening. And to be honest, we’ll bet the story they told you about modifying content based on what people tell them is probably not true at all. If so, that would be a seriously ridiculous idea. We’ve had the same issue trying to get our content correct on booking.com, too. Bottom line is: if you’re looking at a third party website, there’s a good chance the information is not up to date. In Expedia’s case, we think they just don’t care.

      • Vee said

        I got on their case about them as a website. I wasn’t inclined to blame the hotel, but it’s a domino effect. If things aren’t what they seem, people will be much less inclined to give anything to that hotel. For example, I knew that the hotel wasn’t at fault for the false information advertised. But because we had to pay for internet, we went out of our way to not order room service nor go to the gift shop or any other store within the hotel.

        For the case with the BBB, I stated that they needed to do their own research into a hotel so they can give correct impressions to their customers. Apparently they’ll only update information if that magic word ‘refund’ is offered. Or if the customer is inclined to take it to an authority. They may not wish to wrangle with customers, considering they don’t know what a certain customer is earning or how angry a customer would get to take them to court. But if they have all the information concerning a person’s hotel, they can choose to make or break them at their own whims.

        I’m sending this story to every single person I know. Far as I know, it’s being retweeted by others once again, so here’s hoping it will reach more. Thank you for saying something so publicly and for creating a place, if only in the comments section, for others to share their experiences. With at least one solid link, it makes for easier information to carry to others.

      • And we can’t blame you for feeling that way. But because of your actions after what you were put through, the hotel suffered (because you decided not to spend any more money with them, etc.) for something that wasn’t their fault. In other words, of the three parties involved, both you and the hotel suffered because of the third party: Expedia. This is what is so unfair. Expedia doesn’t care, because they get paid regardless. The hotel’s reputation suffered, and your vacation suffered, but Expedia just lost a customer. To them that’s no big deal. At their size and with their money, the loss of a few customers doesn’t have much impact on them. That’s why we’re happy that there is some real dialogue going on about these issues. While it may not make much of a difference to a company the size of Expedia, at least it will hopefully prevent some other guests and hotels from suffering similar fates. Thanks for sharing your experience.

  301. Drew Drewski said

    This doesn’t surprise me. Expedia is one of the worst places around and I refuse to book with them at all.

  302. Kay Walten said

    Toni & Cheri, hey sorry to hear this story. Knowing the hotel & travel business the way I do, I am not surprised. The big business of OTA’s hurts small business.

  303. amanda said

    I work at a hotel as well and I have run into the same problems with Expedia. Expedia will send us cancellation emails three and four days after the guests were supposed to check in. Trying to get them to admit they did something wrong will never happen. They are a horrible company and I let as many people as I can know about their business practices.

  304. Andrea said

    shared this post, hope the issue will get resolved for you guys

  305. blade3colorado said

    Tony and Cheri,

    This is excellent information . . . I haven’t booked with Expedia, Orbitz, Travelocity, Priceline or any of the other hotel/air fare middlemen in years. In fact, I recently wrote a blog post, that touches on this subject . . .

    http://aroundtheworldwithblade.wordpress.com/2013/01/02/how-much-does-a-rtw-trip-cost/

    I hope you are successful in fighting Expedia. It is despicable what they have done to you.

    Steve

  306. Next time I go to Mexico I’m calling you guys! Thanks for the heads up on Expedia…

  307. Sofie said

    Will share this post! Was totally blown away by the rudeness!

  308. Mayelyn said

    WOW!! This is just mind boggling…. words are not enough to express my disgust at Expedia! I received this article as a school assignment in my Travel Industry & Geography class! I have already spread the word by posting the link to this story to my Facebook page and passing it on to my family and friends! May God continue to bless you and prosper your business!

  309. InACents said

    While I can see all of this being true, the whole time I’m thinking to myself, why not just drop Expedia? You survived fine without them before, so if they were damaging business, go back to the old methods. I understand the Expedia empire had potential to drive a lot of traffic to the location, but if you made it fine before, you should be fine in the end. Lots of smaller places survive without being found on the larger sites.

    • We have dropped Expedia. The point is they won’t drop us. Our whole complaint is that Expedia continues to list us on their affiliarte sites around the world, while telling people we have no availability. The refusal to end this is their decision, not ours.

  310. soneeta said

    thats horrible. how can Expedia do such a cheap thing. lesson learned… will never even open Expedia website. and will definitely tell this to all my friends in INDIA. and anyone planning for a carrabian vacation will definitely land at the Luna Beach hotel. all the best Tony n Cheri. keep up the spirit. all your customers are always there to back u in the fight.

  311. Greg said

    I sent an email to all of the addresses supplied. Good Luck.

  312. Antonia said

    I wanted so badly to ready your article, but the font on your website made it very difficult. I ended up copying and pasting the text into Word and changing the font to Verdana. Really……this font is horrible! It has breaks in each of the letter. Please change it! Now I’m off to read the article….

  313. Carolyn said

    I had the exact same experience. I own a Shady Shores Beach Resort on Vancouver Island in Canada. When ever I could get them to contact me they would phone me around 5.a.m from Europe. I could barely understand what they were saying, and at the end nothing was resolved. Everyone needs to know that there is NO SAVINGS….unless you are booking at a large hotel chain, and then they sell off rooms at the last minute or book the rooms that are difficult to rent, like ones without views, or are noisy. We need to gather all our little owner operator boutique establishments on to a co-op site…where guests can choose an experience over just another room.

  314. Richard said

    Have emailed the addresses you supplied, and asked them for an explanation. On the off-chance any of them reply I’ll forward it on.

    Appalling story, but let’s be honest, not entirely surprising these days to hear of yet another industry being done in by the biggest players behaving illegally and modifying the “market” for their own gain.

    I’m not sure I ever did book anything through Expedia, but I am sharing the story now, and won’t be booking with them ever again (I’m afraid to say I did do some marketing for them recently, but at least I was getting money from them). I dare say I have access to one or two of their FB pages (companies like that rarely strip down redundant admin permissions) but I’d never do anything naughty like that, would I?

    Good luck getting what you deserve!

  315. kathym12 said

    I am so glad I read this. I am spreading the word about this. I will never book through them again.

  316. kathym12 said

    I will also reblog this at yourorganicchild.com

  317. deponti said

    What shameful, unethical practices! I am sharing this link…

  318. [...] Bookmarked Expedia: Bad for the Traveler, Bad for the Hotel « Luna Blue’s PlayaZone [...]

  319. GF said

    Your site, http://www.lunabluehotel.com, has a copyright tag of 2010.
    Might I recommend you update the copyright year and add a header/banner or some text about looking forward to a great 2013 or something.

    If an Expedia guest goes about the trouble of looking you up, then they’d see you’re alive and kicking.

  320. [...] conocer la historia completa contada por los propietarios del establecimiento, haga Click AQUI. [...]

  321. Ross McAlpine said

    This is a shocking case, I’ve tweeted your blog link.

    I work in hospitality marketing and am constantly trying to encourage guests to book direct rather than through these sites. Have you considered SEO and a Google paid search campaign to increase your own website’s visibility? I know you do not have the budget to match Expedia’s paid search campaigns (no one does) but you can still improve your chances of direct bookings this way. I would also recommend social media for building your reputation and encouraging direct bookings. Good luck.

  322. Wow! Gracias por compartir su historia! Como hotelero les deseo lo mejor para poder fomentar la venta directa. Saludos desde Argentina!

  323. [...] then I read this – and this – from a pair of American ex-pats who run a small, independent hotel along the Mexican [...]

  324. poorvida said

    Thanks for the info! Never using Expedia again.

  325. [...] the Heads blogged about the situation on the Luna Blue website, The Verge, one of the largest technology/media [...]

  326. brick3age.beeplog.de said

    You’re so cool! I don’t believe I’ve truly read through anything like this before. So wonderful to discover another person with some unique thoughts on this subject. Really.. thank you for starting this up. This web site is one thing that is needed on the web, someone with a bit of originality!

  327. What can we do collectively as small business owners to push back against these larger corporate forces? There must be new ways of collectively organizing and marketing that will allow us to regain some power over the market. Suggestions? Thoughts?

  328. Tobias said

    A Norwegian Hotel Chain is about to sue Expedia for many of the same reasons you mention:

    http://translate.google.com/translate?hl=en&sl=no&tl=en&prev=_dd&u=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.dn.no%2Fforsiden%2Fnaringsliv%2Farticle2589999.ece

    (The translation is a bit off, but hopefully you’ll make some sense out of it :)

  329. Fiona said

    Found your blog ? post while researching after having an issue with Expedia – in a different way – made a booking this weekend for a 3 night 5* last minute short break for next weekend , then bookedand paid the airfares directly with our preferred airline – and then this morning got an email from the hotel advising they had received the expedia booking – apologising , but as they had been booked out for over 6 weeks !!!!! for this long weekend – had no rooms available – and by the way they have never had a booking throught expedia before …. I am still on hold 2 minutes later with expedia customer support while they work out what they can do ,,, thanks for your posts – I am much better armed now to deal with them once they deign to get back to me … long weekend all confirmed, but thankfully on a ” Pay at hotel on arrival” although that doesnt resolve the airfares to a small destination – now i know why my threat of reportiong therm to trade practices shook them a tad …. I will post the results ….PS Expedia is still showing availability at the same hotel thsi morning , after already speaking with the hotel propietors – apparently Expedia blank wallled the hotel and refused to take any action – not so surprising having read your posts I guess …..

  330. Adam said

    Fuck expedia. If I will ever visit Playa del Carmen I’ll definitely book&stay in Luna Blue by calling your hotel directly.
    Wish you only the best!

  331. […] I’ve also heard horror stories about trying to get satisfaction from players like Expedia. Anyone remember this horror story? Next time I see a big OTA rep at the US Travel Association board meeting, I will bend their ear […]

  332. […] Three Hours with Tri… on Expedia: Bad for the Traveler,… […]

  333. […] 2013 episode, the owners of a small hotel, the Luna Blue Hotel and Bar in Playa del Carmen, Mexico, detail the hell they’ve gone through partnering with […]

  334. Brian H. said

    EXPEDIA SUCKS ! THEY DO NOT HONOR THEIR LOW PRICE GUARANTEE !
    I too had an experience with the Expedia operators concerning their lowest price guarantee. I booked a room in Las Vegas Nv. at the Golden Nugget with Expedia for a price of $161.37, and then seen it on the Golden Nugget website for $128.91.
    I filed my low price guarantee within 1 hour of booking through Expedia, (your required to do it within 24 hours) and it gave me a response saying “Thank you for your email, you will receive a response within 48 hours”. Since I did not get a follow up e-mail in my inbox, I waited for a few hours, and refilled my complaint to make sure they got it. I again never received an e-mail response so I thought I would wait for the 48 hours and see what happens. After I waited the 48 hours and never received any communication from Expedia, I e-mailed them to see what was going on with my filing. Again waited another day or two with no response, so I called them to ask what was going on. (actually you put in your number they call you back) I talked with the operator, (very hard to understand) and they told me that I never filed anything with them. I explained that I not only filed it once, but I filed it again to make sure, and followed up with a e-mail. After waiting on hold for another 30 minutes, they came back and said that they found it and they had Good News, they were going to give me the $50.00 credit, and $8.00 for the difference between the two prices, I said that was great, but the difference was not $8.00 but it was $32.46, and I requested that they refund the proper amount, when I was put on Hold again…for another 15 minute. They returned to the line, and told me that he was wrong, and that they have my filing but that they have not yet made a decision on it as of yet..(so the story changed again) That I would receive a response within 24 hours, so I got a case number, and waited. After 2 more days with no response at all from them, I called them again, telling them that I was not happy, and expected that they straighten out this situation while I was on the phone, and they assured me that they would, then put me on hold. After waiting on hold for 15 minutes, she came back and said…”Brian, Brian?” and I responded twice, then she hung up. I got back on the phone with them yet again, and they said please hold, and hung up again !! This went on for about 4 more phone calls, continuing to hang up on me, when finally I just ask for a supervisor. On hold again for another 10 minutes, she finally came to the phone, and proceeded to tell me that I never filed a claim, and that they could not help me. I proceeded to tell her that I not only filed it once but twice, and she continued with her story about me not filing a claim. I gave her my “Case Number” to show her that I have been on the phone with them many times, and she put me on hold again, and after another 10 minutes, she came back and said that she actually did find my claim but that it was too late since it was now a week later. I told her I filed it within 1 hour of booking with them and insisted she do more research on the matter, then back on hold. After another 15 minutes, she returned and said that I indeed filed it in a timely manner, but more bad news, I used a $50.00 credit that I had with them (Expedia) and that made the price cheaper, so there would be NO REFUND OR $50.00 COUPON. I was pretty upset, telling her that they cannot punish me for using MY CREDIT (that belong to me !) to help pay for the trip to their advantage to make the price lower, virtually punishing me for using my credit, and she insisted that the price was lower, no matter how it got there, so no low price guarantee. I kept on insisting for another 5 minutes that they had to honor their policy, and she finally said that they would give me the $50.00 coupon but would not be issuing a price match refund. Having been on the phone with them many many times for hours, I had enough (their whole plan to begin with) and accepted the coupon, without the refund price difference.
    DO NOT USE THEM !

  335. michael said

    great info. I will keep this in mind. never really liked expedia anyway. and good luck!

  336. Matt said

    Keep in mind that its not just accommodation having issues. Many industries with aggregator Goliaths face the same issues – rental cars, airlines, cruises etc. They are squeezing all the profits from many operators, simply because they have the audience and negotiating power.

    • You are so very right. If people would only recognize that using a middleman simply drives up costs, and that bargains can often be found when dealing directly with travel providers (not to mention having a single point of contact if things go wrong), the power might begin to revert back to the traveler where it belongs.

  337. not happy said

    i am the manager of a small hotel in canada. expedia are the worst company that i have to deal with in my job. they lie, make silly excuses, do not cooperate, they say ‘not my job’ and pass you from department to department. they make invoicing errors to try and steal money from us. every time it happens i spend hours and hours on the phone and writing emails trying to work it out. everyone says not my job, or i’ll get someone to call you which never happens, or they put you on hold and dont come back. if we ever owe them money, we get threats for collection agency within 2 weeks.
    we have been waiting 6 months for a new contract. i was told the the ENTIRE contract department went on holidays at once, that is why it has taken so long. i gave them nearly 1 month notice that i was on holiday for january, they of course sent it after i had left. my expedia contact is dayton stanphill, beware of his lies and excuses.
    we tried to use expedia eqc, which is the automated booking feature so staff dont have to enter the reservations manually. they claim they lost the contract, we have been waiting for over 5 months now.
    horrible horrible company. they also tell guests that we are fully sold out when we are not. its impossible dealing with them. if you have the option to NOT use expedia then dont. you will be very happy that you didnt. booking.com is better.

    • Louise said

      To all Canadian travelers and business owners… do as I did! Contact W-Five, Fifth Estate and The Current (CBC) and our french canadian equivalent, ‘La Facture and Enquête’ at Société Radio Canada. Hopefully, if enough of us tell how ‘all of us’ (consumers and business owners) are getting played and cheated by Expedia they will do an investigation and expose them on national TV and Radio.

      It pains me to see how our dear friends (Tony & Cheri @ The Luna Blue) have suffered and struggled at the helm of these hypocrites. :(
      There is more than enough competition already. So don’t let a giant crooked company drive your business to failure or ruin your precious vacation time… because they can… if you allow them.
      Sure… some of you will argue that you have used Expedia and and got a good deal. Lucky for you… this time around. Wait though, because they may ruin your next vacation. :)

      We all work so hard to make an honest living… our vacation time is precious and expensive too. Be careful and aware.

      Take action! Boycott and report Expedia!

  338. David said

    WOW I presumed Expedia and the like were not great for small businesses but am surprised at the extent to which this is true. In the future I think I`m going to ring up/email the hotel and see if they can match the Expedia rate. Thanks and don`t give up!

    • The thing about the Expedia rate….in many cases (especially when dealing with hotels and not giant resorts), the Expedia rate is EXACTLY the same as what you would get at the hotel. This is because they insist on rate parity from the hotels they deal with (i.e., the hotel can’t offer a lower rate than Expedia does). It’s just that their marketing makes people believe they have the lowest rates. More of their lies is all it is.

  339. Sandy said

    Yes Dear,
    We accept this, Expedia is using there reputation in open market to mislead the Customer and the Holier too. They charge 25% Commission of each booking but still they do not bother about the Guest or the Holier. They give training to there staff in the same manner. Do not expect any Humanity or any manner from there Market Manager. It does not matter from where they are. Either they are from USA, Spain, Germany, Italy, Thailand, India . They all are same. They have a excellent capability with them and that is Rude Behavior & Arrogant attitude as they are prince of heaven. It does not matter what designation they have all are in a same way.

    They are just useless, filthy and disgusting people. STOP USING THERE SERVICE……….one day it will kill them slowly but everybody has to be a together.

    Sandy from India

  340. peggyluwho said

    I have had a horrible experience recently dealing with them on the customer side, and knowing that this is how they are treating their “partners” just seals the deal. I am done with them.

    https://peggyluwho.wordpress.com/2014/09/28/expedia-sucks/

  341. AL K. said

    I have bookmarked your hotel and it will be my first search during planning for my next trip.

  342. Araceli said

    How unprofessional are they!?! I have emailed all addresses provided and will spread the word. I will not use Expedia or its affiliates until this is resolved. I hope your Luna Blue Hotel thrives and hope I can visit soon!

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