Why Does It Have To Be So Difficult?

Hotels have actually made it possible to make their internet experience less appealing than talking to someone on the phone.

In my role as Developer Evangelist, I have to travel from time to time. With this travel comes a budget that isn’t exactly going to have me calling the Four Seasons regularly. My needs usually revolve around these three things:

1) A bed.

2) Wireless internet access

3) Inexpensive rates, but not “cheap hotel.”

Because of this, I am always on the hunt for a good rate. Now, having the name Microsoft behind me certainly helps, and if not that, I can rely on good ol’ AAA. But when talking to the hotel’s website, I never, ever get a rate that I would consider acceptable. For example, I was looking for a hotel in Texas today. The event I was attending had recommended a specific hotel (no names need to be named), and event’s organizers told me that the nightly rate was $84. That’s my perfect price point. On the hotel’s website, even with my AAA discount, the rate came to $109 a night…a little higher than I prefer to pay. So I tried other options. Nothing below $100. Frustrating.

So I called the hotel. I told them when I needed a room, and that I had been told that the rate was $84 a night. The clerk told me that, in fact, the rate was $79. EVEN BETTER! So I’ve got my room, and a story to tell.

My calling the hotel takes up the time of the person working the front desk. That time = money, in most cases, however small that person’s wages are. Alternatively, the website is up and running all the time. 24/7. It doesn’t cost them anything more to have me book my room. Zero. Zilch. Nada. So why is it that all hotels have unified in this practice? I can save 20-40% on my room rate by tying up the person at the front desk on the phone. Continue to reward me for that practice, and I will continue to make your web investment lack in ROI.

But don’t even get me started on how frustrated I get when I’m checking in to a hotel, and the clerk is on the phone…

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