Hotel mistakenly offers 1-cent weekend

August 14, 2009 2:55:01 PM PDT
You had to be quick, but what a deal. A four-star hotel near Venice mistakenly offered the ultimate low-cost vacation -- a romantic weekend in the Italian lagoon city for 1 euro cent.

Not surprisingly, the Crowne Plaza in Quarto D'Altino, 15.5 miles (25 kilometers) from Venice, received bookings for 5,000 people the night the rate was posted on its Web site. And it seems those bookings may be valid.

The hotel first thought the offer was posted by a hacker, sales manager Fulvio Danesin said Friday. But it turned out to be human error at the Atlanta, Georgia, offices of Intercontinental Hotels Group, the hotel's mother company, he said.

The offer was supposed to be for a two-night stay at half price. A night at the 151-room hotel normally costs between euro90 ($128) and euro150 ($214).

The 1-cent rate was up only Sunday night, but that was long enough for travelers to book dates running from October through 2010, Danesin said. The hotel stands to lose euro90,000 ($129,000), he said.

Danesin said the reservations are "formally valid" and Intercontinental will have to decide how to deal with the customers. Intercontinental spokesmen did not immediately return calls for comment Friday.

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