venere
6 months ago
 

Ciao, Venere – Expedia closes headwind-facing hotel booking site

Venere – the European hotel site once considered to be a part of Expedia’s attempt to counter the rise of Booking.com – is no more.

Expedia Inc confirmed earlier reports into its demise, saying the brand has “faced a number of headwinds” and therefore a decision had been made to close the brand.

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.

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Kevin May

About the Writer :: Kevin May

Kevin May was a co-founder and member of the editorial team from September 2009 to June 2017.

 

Comments

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  1. John Hazlewood www.sharingXchange.com

    why didnt they leave it as an affiliate white label site instead of killing it…..from people i have spoken with running multiple sites overall traffic and conversions are greater with multiple sites even if the content is the same. In addition to selling advertising and sending traffic to competitors having own sites to send traffic to seems to be an approach that is successful.

     
    • Adriano Meloni

      Excellent question my texan friend! I also read that SEO benefits all but disappeared with that redirect to hotels.com. At the end of the day though it was just too small a business in the Expedia portfolio. Initially bought as the booking.com killer, it just didn’t get the attention it needed to survive.

       
  2. Benjamin Dover

    “headwinds” is my most hated ubiquitous corporate-speak of the last year.

     
    • Kevin May

      Kevin May

      @BenDover – agree… catch-all term for “it’s in a bit of a pickle” 🙂

       
  3. Ian R Clayton

    Interesting – maybe it points out that the advantages of central control and consolidation out weigh the benefits of having a local site. It takes so much to maintain a brand that it just makes sense to consolidate i guess. But that is a lesson for those who are running local destination sites

     
 
 

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