The Luna Blue Hotel is a small 18-room hotel on Mexico’s Caribbean coast across from the island of Cozumel, known for its friendly service, proximity to the beach, and resident fat tabby cat, Frankie. It is popular and rated highly on travel review sites. According to the ubiquitous online travel agent Expedia, the hotel is in such high demand that it’s booked through the end of 2013. “Luna Blue Hotel is sold out,” the site informs would-be guests.
Except it’s not.
In reality, the Luna Blue Hotel has plenty of availability — it’s just that owners Cheri and Tony Head are the victims of a long nightmarish saga with industry monolith Expedia that ended with the hotel’s page frozen in purgatory. And because of Expedia’s strong search engine ranking and its vast network of affiliated sites, the rumor that the Luna Blue is sold out has spread around the web.
“We’re getting emails from people saying, ‘you know, we’re so sorry you were booked for that time, I booked another hotel,’ and we’re writing back, ‘we’re not booked!’” Tony Head told The Verge.
I was an expedia affiliate member for years, so I’ve heard similar stories like this. It’s sad, disappointing and something that should be addressed.