Helicopter Crash. Photo by Tidewatermuse
In a Press Release dated April 9, 2009 Hotelicopter is presented as a “New” Totally Awesome Hotel Search Engine after “The Hotelicopter had attracted wide media coverage with its April Fools Prank”
Almost everybody in Bloggistan loves the way Hotelicopter was launched as an April Fools prank and then turns out as a hotel booking engine. “Good marketing” they say. I beg to differ.
Although I can appreciate a good joke or to be fooled and certainly can laugh about myself, I feel fooled by Vibe Agent in another way:
First the search engine is not at all new. Basically it is the same search engine as it was three days ago under the name VibeAgent.
It is meant to be a community that shares hotel reviews on the one hand and combines that with best price searching on the other hand.
The members are called Agents. They write the reviews. They are unpaid.
VibeAgent has teamed up with an impressive list of travel and hotel portals at the back end, like Price Line, Booking.com and many others.
So: It started out as a community driven hotel search engine. As a sort of mini Tripadvisor, but a bit more advanced. In the meantime Tripadvisor has overhauled its website entirely and became part of Expedia.
Now with this repackaging of the site as Hotelicopter VibeAgent has wiped away its entire own community.
Where are your approximately 5,000 plus Agents, Adam?
Was that part of the deal with TripAdvisor? You being able to show Tripadvisor reviews provided you did away with your own base of hotel reviews?
I’m not amused and I believe many with me.
Update April 9 16.00 hr (04.00PM) local time:
Again this is a matter of lack of communication: See the comments below. Feeling a bit better now.