After consumer complaints that travel website Aoyou.com was misrepresenting the quality of certain hotels, an investigation has shown the complaints to be fairly accurate.
Aoyou.com was supposedly listing non-star or non-rated hotels as star hotels on its website for consumers to book. After hearing of the complaints, Sina.com launched a journalistic investigation.
For Beijing, after inputting some necessary search information such as "Beijing" and "five-star", a list of hotels was shown on the search results page, of which quite a number like Beijing Huandao Boya Hotel, Beijing Xinhai Jinjiang Hotel, Beijing Daoxianghujing Hotel and even some apartments also appear. According to a list of star-class hotels provided by the Beijing Municipal Tourism Bureau, these hotels are not star-class rated.
In addition, Aoyou.com was reportedly using confusing terms like "five-star to be" to describe these hotels. This has determined by the tourism department to be false advertising.
Aoyou.com has not given any public comment on the problems.
Aoyou.com was launched in March 2005 by the China Youth Travel Service Holding Company and American-based Cendant Group with CNY145 million. It is mainly involved in domestic and international hotel reservation and air ticket booking.