I'm off down London next month, for InfoSec, and because of such, have a need for a hotel in Kensington (Earls Court to be precise). I found several, but most were already fully booked, or stupidly expensive (Hilton falling into the latter at £350 PER NIGHT!).
What astounded and disgusted me however, were the following;
Why did they disgust me? Let me count the ways;
1. They DO NOT provide their contact information anywhere on their website - instead, the contact information is for a THIRD PARTY*, nice of them to tell you that.
2. The phone numbers listed in the whois details, are either invalid (in the case of mowbraycourthotel.com) or don't accept incoming calls (in the case of the other 2), meaning you can't contact the hotel directly
3. No valid e-mail address to contact the hotels THEMSELVES!, instead, again, you're given the e-mail address for a THIRD PARTY!
4. Worst of all however, is given this, they still require a deposit, which normally would be fine - most hotels do - but the problem here, is they want us to trust them with our credit/debit card details, when they can't even provide basic contact information!
Personally I find that absolutely abhorant. Needless to say, the domains have been reported to Internic/ICANN due to the invalid phone numbers.
* And who is this third party?
But hang on, if we load the homepage (i.e. no referrer or such), it says it's "Boka Hotel" - but hows that exactly, when it's clearly not? it then gets more confusing if we load its WhoIs details up - guess who we see;
But hang on - we've seen @studios92.com before;
And just to confuse matters;
The only one that actually has the address of the hotel in the WhoIs, is bokahotel.com, but the e-mail address doesn't appear to exist (bounced), and none of the phone numbers in ANY of the domains whois records, actually work (one doesn't exist (mowbraycourthotel.com) and the others don't accept incoming calls).
But this doesn't add up - traveltura.com insist they're nothing more than an agent - a third party, not the hotels themselves - yet everything says they're all one and the same entity, regardless of the different company names, different WhoIs, invalid phone numbers, etc etc etc.
So given this, given they don't seem to be forthcoming about who they are, and don't want to provide actual valid contact details - phone numbers for the *hotels* themselves being the most important, would you trust them with your credit/debit card? I certainly won't be doing.
Oh and to make matters worse, when you do query with them, and they send you an e-mail - it's actually just a link to the search page - WITH THEIR AFFILIATE ID (yep, I double checked ;o) ) - you could've done the damn search yourself in the time it took for you to pay to phone them, or the time it took you to e-mail the so-called third party!
I've got work that needs doing however, so won't be digging into them any further just yet, will be doing that when I get some free time.