Going, going, gone. eBay launches hotel auctions
Auction-style website eBay has teamed up with an online travel agent to offer hotel rooms for the first time from as little as 99p per night.
Deals available this week include Valentine's night at the Paris Disneyland Radisson Blu Hotel, three nights in Florence at the Embassy Hotel, and half-term at the Ca'San Polo in Venice.
All the offers, available from both global hotel chains and independent properties, are being put up for auction by online hotel booking agent Octopus Travel.
A spokesman for eBay said the auction-style website planned to expand its choice of travel products later in the year.
On the Octopus-branded page of the eBay website, visitors can search for accommodation by date and location.
A spokesman for Octopus admitted the company might lose money on some sales through eBay, but it says it is worth taking a hit on some sales in order to increase its online presence.
Ebay claims it will have more than 50,000 hotel rooms on its website, either available for auction or for its Buy Now option.
While there will undoubtedly be some bargains amongst them, visitors should make sure they know what they are bidding for.
Elsewhere on the eBay website, on pages not linked to Octopus Travel, users may believe they are bidding for accommodation when in fact they are bidding only for a booking form that entitles them to discounted rooms.
Most of the accommodation is available only for specified dates and there may be special terms and conditions, such as a requirement to take meals in the hotel, which bidders should check out before making an offer.