Tuesday, December 12

Updated Corporate Websites Would be a Boon to Travelers

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The wife and I are traveling this week. We’re driving around parts of the South, taking our time hitting various places we’ve wanted to visit while also dropping in on some relatives. We are also traveling with our dog, a beagle. In the weeks before our trip, the wife looked up many hotels online, checking websites to find hotels that would allow us to bring our dog.

Some hotels don’t allow pets. That’s understandable. We get it. We’re not the type of pet owners who expect everyone else to have to accommodate us and our beagle.

My wife found about a dozen different hotels which had websites saying they accepted pets, sometimes with an additional fee.

The first day of our trip we drove for a few hours then stopped at one of the hotels my wife had read about online. They didn’t accept pets, even though their website said they did. Okay, bad luck on our part. The company just needed to update its website.

In the same town, we went to another hotel. Fortunately my wife had made a list of dozens of hotels that supposedly allowed for pets, plus we were traveling with a laptop which came in handy whenever we could find some place with free Wifi.

That next hotel didn’t allow pets either. I pointed out to the clerk behind the counter that their website said they took pets. The person just shrugged at me.

Frustrating, but still, just bad luck.

Then the same thing happened at the next hotel. And the next one. And the one after that.

Our frustration growing, even though we had already spent an hour and a half trying to get into a hotel, we drove on down the highway another hour until we got to the next town. The first hotel we hit up there also didn’t accept pets, despite the fact their site advertised that they did.

The next hotel gave the same results. If you’re keeping count, that’s seven hotels with websites saying they allowed pets, but then didn’t accept pets once we were actually on the spot. When I used to work in the newspaper business, that was called false advertising; it was illegal.

Finally, the eighth hotel we walked into actually allowed for pets. We stayed there for the night. It was a dump. But at least we got to sleep.

The next day, before hitting the road, we decided to try some local food. We asked a few local people about unique restaurants in the area, listened to their suggestions, then decided upon a place. Once again, the wife checked out a website, this one for the restaurant. They had some decent-sounding goodies. We put together a list of what we wanted to eat, then the wife called the restaurant to put in our order so it could be ready by the time we got there.

The restaurant no longer carried mashed potatoes. Even though their website listed it among the items on their menu. And, mashed potatoes? That’s like one of the most common foods on the whole planet! Wanting to get on the road once more, and our frustration rising again, we skipped the restaurant and just hit up a fast-food restaurant, one we could have eaten at anywhere.

At least we were soon on the road again.

The lessen here is that if companies want us to return as customers, they need to update their websites to reflect their policies. Or, if they don’t update their sites, then they should stick by the advertised policies. Otherwise, we won’t be returning.

Sure, the wife and I are just two potential customers, but we know a lot of people. And we like to talk. No, I won’t name hotels or restaurants here, but we will make sure to mention our experiences to all family and friends.

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