By | Category: Travel rumblings
smartphone booking

book online? be cautious of e-mails purporting to come from the company with which you booked

The announcement by that its customer database seems to have been hacked will be of no comfort to those of us that opt to book online.

The chief security officer says that up to 100,000 may be affected but no announcement has been made by’s parent company to investors and since it seems that this has been occurring for a little while, it could be more widespread than at first sight. The company is owned by Priceline Group, a company which not only owns Priceline (a site where you bid a price rather than see one displayed,, (one of the largest hotel booking agencies in the world) Kayak (a travel search engine) and (another hotel booking platform.)

The question is how far has the security breach gone? In the last quarter alone, booked 95 million rooms on behalf of customers. Can they assure us that our details are safe?

If you use, remember that they do not ask for payment. You pay the hotel when you check-out. If you get an e-mail – even if it looks genuine because it names you, the dates you are staying and your inside leg measurement – take no notice or ring to check first. Above all pay no money until you get to your hotel and checkout.

Not all online booking companies say that you should pay the hotel; some collect money up front, take their commission (which can be as high as 25% or more) and then pass the balance onto the hotel. Check first; read the small print and – if in  doubt, book with the hotel direct and see if you can get a saving by reminding them that they won’t have to pay a high commission!

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