Ciao, Venere – Expedia closes headwind-facing hotel booking site
The site is already redirecting traffic to fellow accommodation booking brand Hotels.com.
An official says the brand has “undergone a period of significant change” and, following a restructuring of the business, all consumer activity would be transferred to the sister site.
Venere site stopped taking new bookings on the 1 December 2016, the official says, adding:
“We continue to run the travel agency (B2B) operations in Italy.”
The company was already 14 years old when Expedia Inc bought it in 2008 for an undisclosed fee.
A very early player in the world of online travel agencies, created in the Italian capital of Rome, Venere grew steadily to contract a sizeable portfolio of properties in Europe, the Middle East and Africa (making it attractive to growth-hungry Expedia).
After a financial restructuring in 2001, Venere later sold a 60% stake in the business to private equity giant Advent International in 2007, before Expedia Inc come in two years later to buy out the entire shareholding and add the brand to the group’s growing family of consumer-facing sites (including, back then, eLong and TripAdvisor).
Expedia Inc got its hands on 10,000 new properties as part of the deal (out of 29,000 on Venere’s roster).
Marco Ficarra, CEO of Venere at the time of the acquisition, stayed until the end of the year before heading to fellow Italian OTA Bluvacanze.
He is currently CEO and co-founder of Destination Italia, part of the Lastminute.com Group.
Most recently, Venere fell under the auspices of Johan Svanstrom, president at Expedia Inc who is also looking after Hotels.com and Expedia Affiliate Network.
Kevin is senior editor and a co-founder at Tnooz. He was previously editor of UK-based magazine Travolution and web editor of Media Week UK from 2003 to 2005.
He has worked in regional newspapers (Essex Enquirer) and started his career at the Police Gazette at New Scotland Yard in London. He has a degree in criminology, a postgraduate diploma in magazine journalism and publishes his first book - a biography about Depeche Mode - in late-2016.