Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Wotif You Tried Another Outfit?


IT IS a matter of personal preference, but when the urge to go walkabout visits the Billabong, it is usually a tent and fishing rod which are slung into the back of the Bunyipmobile. Others enjoy the comforts of fine hotels, and in this age of luxury it is online accommodation services to which most turn. Hotels are listed and rated, bargains announced, and almost everyone, with the exception of old-fashioned travel agents, has had reason to rejoice. Travellers get nice deals and companies can make good money, which has certainly been the case with Wotif.com. Indeed, founder Graeme Wood has done so well he can afford to indulge with seven-figure sums his hobby of encouraging political ratbaggery and journalistic preening. Some tycoons buy yachts or the embrace of pneumatic young women. Mr Wood draws satisfaction from the affection of Bob Brown. To each his own.

Someone who is not at all satisfied is YouTube poster Archie Luxury, who has released this clip under the title “Greenmount Beach ResortCoolangatta – Wotif.com Horror Story”. The phranger on the balcony seems to have been the final straw.


With the Rufous Bird making noises about how nice it would be to go for a tramp through Italy, Wotif’s listings and bargains will probably be checked. Every business has its bad days and mistakes can happen. But when the time comes to make a decision, Archie Luxury’s comments about the difficulty of getting a response to his request for a refund will be borne in mind. So, too, what Mr Wood might do with his profit from the Professor’s possible booking.

Others might also ponder the contradiction of booking travel with a company owned by a man who supports a party that opposes travel, especially the frivolous sort, which is what the Rufous Bird has in mind. How can Mr Wood sleep at night when the purchase of a Botega Venetta handbag is one potential customer's prime reason for jetting halfway around the world to a country where the fishing is probably not much good and it will be difficult to watch the opening rounds of the AFL season?

It is all so confusing, Hotels.com will probably get the business.  Readers planning jaunts should make their own decisions, but these things are worth keeping in mind.

26 comments:

  1. This puts the previous story about his preferred email address in a new light. You'd think an IT entrepreneur would have a few options to choose from.

    ReplyDelete
  2. I stopped using Wotif when I found out about the $1.6mil to the Greens. I now use an old fashioned travel agent, who not only knows his stuff, but finds us great deals and is fully contactable to change flights, bookings etc when things go pear shaped.

    I've switched my allegiance for bushwalking and travel gear from Katmandu to Anaconda or Anyone Else But Katmasndu for the same reasons. They can do what they like with the money they make from their business, it's a free country (or it was) afterall. But I don't have to put any of my hard earned towards it!

    ReplyDelete
  3. GFood for you, Megan. Hotels.com has stood me in good stead. They stuffed a booking a few years ago and offered, without being formally asked, a $100 credit. And Expedia has never given cause for complaint, particularly with overseas bookings. Poor old Archie Luxury should be so lucky.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Wot Megan said! Complained directly to them, got the usual fob off about management being totally separate to any decisions of Wood......! Haven't used them since and never will.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Wotif has been dumped in our house. We don't support any greenie sucks.

    ReplyDelete
  6. I have found that most establishments - especially the smaller ones - are more than happy to match the wotif.com rate if you simply give them a call.

    Not only do you save the booking fee the accomodation provider gets paid far sooner than if the money sloshes around in the wotif accounts for a month or so.

    For international jaunts expedia has proven very adequate.

    ReplyDelete
  7. Use Kayak.com
    Very good, and as far as I'm aware, not beholden to millionaire hippies with a penchant for indulgences to Gaia.

    ReplyDelete
  8. Prof all these bookings companies take 10 to 15% commission from the places they book you in. Get the wotif rate or whoever and then call the place and tell and ask them if you can the 10% discount if you book directly. It often works, companies like wotif actually increase the cost of accommodation across the board.

    ReplyDelete
  9. When I learned of Wood's donations to the greens, it was the end of wotif.com for me

    ReplyDelete
  10. I complained to one of Mr Wood's loyal internet denizens once upon a time. The problem was that his webpage saved your credit number when you clicked on the 'remember personal details' button. When I pointed out to them that theirs was the only payment web page in the universe that allowed this to happen, I was promptly informed that I didn't know what I was talking about, that my computer was setup all wrong, and that I could go and get stuffed because nobody cared. I don't use Mr Wood's services anymore, since they seem to care little for the pains I have gone through to earn a credit rating.

    ReplyDelete
  11. "Some tycoons buy yachts or the embrace of pneumatic young women. Mr Wood draws satisfaction from the affection of Bob Brown."
    Uhhhh...

    ReplyDelete
  12. I assume that the accommodation property pays a fee to Wotif when you make a booking via the Wotif website.
    I make full use of their website to check availability and compare tarrifs, then make the booking directly with the chosen property.
    This method was adopted after some horrendous losses when I had to change a Wotif booking.

    ReplyDelete
  13. I'm with Megan. Nowadays I use www.lastminute.com.au (hate the pink colour scheme) or anyone-but-Wotif. Similarly Anyone-but-Katmandu.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. lastminute.com.au are part of the Wotif Group (along with travel.com.au, GoDo tours etc). I like using Hotel.com.au. They're 100% Aussie owned with a satisfaction guarantee and lowest rate guarantee. Their customer service seems to be made up of really experienced ex-travel agents. And I saw they recently won a Canstar award for best customer service. I have never been able to get a cheaper deal direct from the Hotel either when quoting Hotel.com.au's rates. I'm really surprised they're not as well known in Australia as Wotif or some of the US brands.

      Delete
  14. I highly suggest you pack a fly rod and reel, get out into the Italian countryside and find some friendly locals to show you around... You wont regret it.

    ReplyDelete
  15. We travelled to Italy late last year. Rome, Florence and Venice. I did all my research on Tripadvisor before booking and, without exception, all of the B & B's we stayed in were excellent and cheap when compared to Australian rates.

    If you use Tripadvisor to do your research you become very good at establishing which are in fact genuine reviews.

    I used to use Wotif but found that the hotel sites would offer similar deals so I booked directly with the hotel. Once I was found out about the political donation made by Mr Wood Wotif became Notif for me.

    ReplyDelete
  16. Even prior to knowing about Woods' corruptive disposition, we'd never used "Wotif" - based mainly on our intense dislike of intentionally bad spelling.

    Hotels.com is a competent and entirely different set-up. They did a wonderful job sorting out and refunding us after being double charged by the obdurate desk staff of an LA hotel.

    As mentioned above, doing the search and then approaching the hotel direct very often gets a better result.

    PS. Tasmanians should also boycott "Chickenfeed" stores.

    ReplyDelete
  17. Wife used homelidays.com looking for apartments or B&Bs in EU & UK, while booking.com was handy for last minute hotel accomodation. She always checked the feedback comments.
    Agree with all above on wotnot and Katman.

    aycee

    ReplyDelete
  18. We assumed that $200+ per night would be needed for decent US hotel accomodation and almost pre-booked online through the wotifs, trip advisers etc.

    Don't do it, if you book from Oz you seem to get ripped off.

    In a 2010 Calfornia trip, Hotwired.com was a revelation. You select the city, then specific city locations. It will provide eg. 3, 4 or 5 star offers for x amount of dollars, and it only supplies the name of the hotel after you have paid.

    We took a chance 2 days before we left Oz and selected the the 4-star option in the Disneyland area for $62 US, it turned out to be the Hilton (which had an average price of $220 US booking through Trip Adviser).

    We ended up rebooking through Hotwire and each time the Hilton came up, and this worked for other LA locations too.

    In San Diego, Hotwire gave us a more standard hotel but we had selected the 3 star $52 option (and it turned out to be a very clean, decent hotel that would have gone upwards of $130 in Oz)

    mr.simmon

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. apologies the site is hotwire.com, not hotwired.com

      Delete
  19. Elizabeth (Lizzie) B.February 9, 2012 at 10:14 PM

    Don't worry Prof, they will go broke now I don't book with them anymore. So my beloved says, anyway.

    Am drinking a glass of Itie Red right now and raising it to your good health and happy travels. Tap your dancing feet as well as your walking boots and rejoyce in a Botega Venetta taken at source. I would be green with fashion envy if the very thought of calling myself green in any manner at all wasn't such a political turn off.

    ReplyDelete
  20. Like you, I prefer tents. However I am being fast dissuaded by the ripoff prices being charged on the Eastern seaboard for single person tent sites. For instance at Airlie beach I would have paid more for a single tent site than a shared room in a backpacker style hostel.

    ReplyDelete
  21. Just to confirm that in line with other readers above I changed my practice once becoming aware of where wotif.com dollars were going! It is fine to use the wotif site to identify the apparent best offers, but then go directly to that hotel website or booking centre. Main advantage is that wotif bookings have to be fully paid upfront; whereas if you book direct with the accommodation provider you can usually cancel without penalty up to 24 hours before arrival.

    ReplyDelete
  22. A word of thanks for assorted thumbs up and down, and suggestions. I'm planning my first trip abroad next year - only a short one, a couple of weeks in Los Angeles, to meet a certain pinup princess - and really had no idea where to start.

    ReplyDelete
  23. Its pretty obvious the common sense thing to do, if you find a place on Wotif (or similar)you like, is Google the property name, almost all will have their own web site - many have their own on-line booking, if not e-mail them direct.

    You will almost certainly get the same deal as Wotif, most likely you will get a better deal.

    Wotif is bad for suppliers, they take a big commission and it takes a long time to get the money.

    Mind you if you are an unsophisticated, environment hating, bogan (a lot of properties don't want riff-raff around) booking anonymously, via a 3rd party, might be the best way to go.

    ReplyDelete