August 15, 2009 in Nation/World

Italy, on one cent a night

Associated Press
 

ROME – 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 miles from Venice, received bookings for the equivalent of 1,400 room nights on the night the rate was posted on its Web site, the hotel chain acknowledged. 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 offices of Intercontinental Hotels Group, the hotel’s parent 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 $128 and $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 $129,000, he said.

Monica Smith, media relations manager for the hotel group in the U.S., said Friday that some 228 guests made reservations for the equivalent of 1,400 room nights while the error was on the Web site and that the reservations would be honored.

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