Hotel booking firm Clever-Hotels.com collapses leaving thousands sleepless
Simon Calder is Travel Editor at Large for The Independent, writing a weekly column, various articles and features as well as filming a weekly video diary. Every Sunday afternoon, Simon presents the UK's only radio travel phone-in programme called The LBC Travel Show with Simon Calder (97.3 FM). He is a regular guest on national TV, often seen on BBC Breakfast, Daybreak, ITV News and Sky News. He is often interviewed on BBC Radio, particularly for BBC Radio 4’s You & Yours programme and BBC Five Live.
Sunday 25 August 2013
Thousands of British travellers face paying twice for their holiday hotels after a prominent online website, Clever-Hotels.com, went bust.
Clever-Hotels.com was owned by a company called Navelar GmbH, based in the German city of Hamburg. The firm has emailed customers holding confirmed reservations to say: "The companies, through which Navelar has booked hotel rooms for its customers, have announced this afternoon that they will cancel all bookings of Navelar".
Clever-Hotels.com was one of many competing websites whose business model is based on securing a prominent position on price-comparison sites and in using search-engine optimisation to obtain a good placement on Google searches.
The company used Lao Tzu's quote, "A journey of a thousand miles must begin with a single step," suggesting travellers should "Start here: Clever-Hotels.com". It claimed to provide "Worldwide hotel rates at the best possible price", though research carried out by The Independent earlier this year suggested that cheaper deals could be obtained by booking direct with the hotel than through Clever-Hotels.com.
The rooms were not supplied directly by Clever-hotels.com but through hotel wholesalers. It appears that the holding company was forced into administration when it failed to make payments due on bookings. Guests already staying in rooms booked through Clever-Hotels.com, and those about to check-in, are being asked to pay again.
Customers who paid with credit and debit cards are likely to be able to reclaim the money through the card issuer, though this could take some time. Some people paid by bank transfer, a form of payment that offers no such protection. Purchasers are unsecured creditors, and will have to wait until later in the year to see if any of their lost funds can be recovered.
Many of the deals were found through Trivago, another German website. Richard Price tweeted: "First time using #trivago and got scanned by some random German company".
Trivago is majority owned by Expedia, which also owns Hotels.com and Venere.com. Its terms exclude any liability when a provider goes bust: "Trivago at no time takes the role of a tour operator or travel agency". It adds: "Offers, in particular those related to the booking of hotels and trips or services or products related to them, are based on the databases and websites of external contracting parties. Trivago takes no liability for the degree of completion and accuracy of these offers."
The magicians using online collaboration to push boundaries
Jennifer Lawrence attacks mass media again over body image
- 1 America's 'virgin births'? One in 200 mothers 'became pregnant without having sex'
- 2 Sun will 'flip upside down' within weeks, says Nasa
- 4 Christmas comes early: Justin Bieber 'retiring from music'
- 5 Children evacuated from swimming pool after prosthetic leg mistaken for paedophile
Exclusive: Young people ‘want UK to stay in Europe’: Four in 10 adults aged 18 to 24 are ‘firmly in favour’ of membership, poll shows
You can STILL be jailed for being a republican, government confirms, and it remains illegal to even 'imagine' overthrowing the Queen
Kiss and yell: Italian protester charged with sexual assault after kissing riot police officer
Fighting back: the woman giving a voice (and 49,999 others) to the victims of sexism - by giving an airing to their horror stories
PM denies two child limit for benefits is part of Tory welfare policy
Ethan Couch: Texas quadruple murderer – or a victim of ‘affluenza’?
- < Previous
- Next >
£18000 - £27000 per annum + Award-Winning Benefits: Round The World Experts: D...
£18000 - £22000 per annum + Award-Winning Benefits: FCm Travel Solutions: FCm ...
£23000 - £27000 per annum + £18K base & uncapped commission & benefits: Flight...
Excellent Salary: Austen Lloyd: We would very much like to hear from applicant...