Monday, August 08, 2011

Hotel Hunting

Been helping a friend who is computer-less look up a few hotels abroad for a more unbiased view than appears in the brochures. It just reminds me of how badly some of these are set up.

Here's what we want to know - exact location and prices, followed by some method to check availability and contact them.

The first should be easy - Google Maps provides a method to embed an exact centred map into a website; then it should be a case of zooming in with StreetView (if available) and checking the place out. So far I've not found one hotel's website providing an exact match just an "approximate location" which meant trawling up and down the street hoping to spot the hotel - in one case it would have been impossible as the entrance was on a side street from the one named. In one case I ended up downloading the promo video in the vain hopes that it would show me the entrance so I could attempt to match it up on StreetView.

In terms of pricing about half gave prices; none allowed availability checking. At least all of them provided a telephone number and email.

That is once I'd found their sites. With the number of aggregates out there and the tendency of groups to list their hotels under the group name (which we might not know) it's difficult to tell the two apart. In one case I only found the official website by searching for the hotel on Maps and using their entry there. It didn't show up on a plain search.