Tag Archives: online travel

I swear it’s the truth

Do you believe everything you read online?

No – of course you don’t. More and more these days we are exposed to “fake news” on social media, false advertising and let’s not even talk about some of those “newspapers” you see at the check out in the supermarket. Where the heck do they get the inspiration for the headlines? It always gives me a chuckle while I am standing in line. Here’s a few good ones …

So what about hotel reviews? How do you assess the reviews that you may read on Trip Advisor? Do you take it all with a grain of salt and figure out if over 50% of the people liked it then it is probably OK? Or if there are a couple of bad reviews does it totally put you off booking there?

I am not immune from Trip Advisor – yes I look up hotels and see how they are reviewed. But I do balance it out with looking at other review sites such as Oyster.com which is an excellent resource as it is independent and the reviews are submitted by people who specifically go there to review the hotel and take photos. Trip Advisor has expanded from hotels to restaurants as well and it was this story that really had me freaked out – how a person created a fake restaurant and then ended up with that restaurant rated number 1. Here is the full story – it’s fascinating

https://www.vice.com/en_ca/article/434gqw/i-made-my-shed-the-top-rated-restaurant-on-tripadvisor

Just to whet your appetite (‘scuse the pun) here is one of the false reviews that pushed a non-existent restaurant up to number 1

Oh my goodness – does that destroy your faith in humankind or what? Or perhaps we are the stupid ones being so reliant on and faithful to what we read online.

But you have to laugh – right? You just have to reading some of these beauties

HOT AND BOTHERED IN CENTRAL AMERICA

“You said the town was next to a volcano, but we went and there was no lava. I’m pretty sure it was just a mountain.”

NEW YORK’S NO ZOOTOPIA

“The animals at the zoo looked very sad and it made our children cry. Can’t they train them to smile?”

LOST IN SPAIN

“The street signs weren’t in English. I don’t understand how anyone can get around.”

NOT PLAIN SAILING

“I went on your cruise around the Med [Mediterranean Sea] and the sea was so loud outside I couldn’t get any sleep.”

NAAN TOO PLEASED IN INDIA

“I was disgusted to find that almost every restaurant served curry and I don’t like spicy food at all.”

SIGHT-SEETHING IN KENYA

“The elephants we saw on our honeymoon were visibly aroused which made my wife upset and made me feel inadequate.”

DOUBLE TROUBLE IN FRANCE

“My boyfriend and I asked for single beds in our room and you gave us a double. Now I am pregnant.”

FEELING SECOND BREAST IN SPAIN

“Women were sunbathing topless on the beach and my husband spent all day looking at them.”

IN DEEP WATER IN ITALY

“No one told us there would be fish in the sea — the children were surprised and upset.”

TAKEN FOR A RIDE IN TURKEY

“There was no sign telling you that you shouldn’t get on the hot air balloon ride if you’re afraid of heights.”

IT GOT OUT OF SAND IN THAILAND

“The beach was so sandy that sand got into my clothes and was hard to wash off my skin.”

TIME MACHINE IN CARIBBEAN

“It took nine hours for our flight to get from the UK to Antigua but the Americans at our resort said it took them just three.”

OFF COLOUR IN MALDIVES

“The sand was much too white and not yellow like it is shown in your brochure.”

DOOM AND ROOM IN PORTUGAL

“Our one-bedroom apartment was much smaller than the two-bedroom one next door.”

TAKING THE BISCUIT IN BULGARIA

“The local store sold hardly any British food and did not stock my favourite brand of biscuits.”

LOST IN TRANSLATION EN ESPANA

“There were way too many foreigners and everyone spoke Spanish.”

KENYA TELL THE DIFFERENCE?

“We bought designer sunglasses from the market and later found out they were fake.”

GHASTLY GREECE

“We could not enjoy the tour as our guide was too ugly.”

GIVING IT LARGE IN SPAIN

“The beach had too many fat people. It was gross.”

It’s just getting harder

Nothing is easy these days.  Remember in the early days of the internet – wow this was going to be a Brave New World.  Everything was going to be just within a click – connecting with friends, doing business at the speed of light, shopping online, spending money without ever leaving the house or office.

So what happened?  Now it is a jungle out there.   Weird emails are so yesterday – now I get texts to my mobile phone warning me about “mistakes” in my latest cell phone bill or, even more laughable, links to photos that I don’t want to have shared online unless I pay in bitcoin.  I wouldn’t even know a bitcoin if I saw it and – yep – I am WAY to old to have compromising photos of myself online.  

Damn… I paid good bitcoin not to have this published

This internet jungle thrives in the world of travel and you can never be too careful.  These last couple of weeks the stories have been coming fast and furious.

First there was the lady who thought she was booking with the airline but instead she was booking with CheapFlightsFares in the USA – a company that has been reported to the Better Business Bureau on more than one occasion.  https://globalnews.ca/news/4662739/calgary-woman-warning-online-flight-booking/

Then there is the problem of that notorious message that appears on the screen when you have gone through the whole ticket process, entered the name, date of birth and the form of payment – only to receive this notification –
“your request could not be completed at this time”…. 

When you see that DO NOT WALK AWAY FROM THE COMPUTER.  There are numerous examples online and this happens with many airlines.  It is a computer problem and the techies claim that this may be due to your browser or too many cookies or whatever – but don’t assume that you do not have a ticket – check your credit card statement and if necessary phone the airline.  If you do not turn up for the flight it is regarded as a “no show” and there will be no refunds at all.

And it is not just flights – hotel booking sites are also implicated.  Want a luxury hotel for cheap?  Well there’s an app for that!   Hackers are offering luxury hotel rooms for dirt cheap…. how do they do it? According to this article they hack into reward programs and other dubious methods to offer up “unbelievable” deals.  https://www.vice.com/en_au/article/wj35yb/how-hackers-sell-luxury-hotels-cheap-discount-loyalty-points-airlines

I had a real chuckle reading this article as it even contained a screen shot as follows –

Wow – they even have to advertise on a  crime forum site!

Oh and yes – you have to pay in Bitcoin – way to make it even more difficult.

I miss the good old days of letters in envelopes and dare I say the old telex machine!  How many out there know what I am talking about?

Are you being ripped off?

Well  M. Joy Hayes PhD. of MotleyFool.com thinks you might be.

She reported that consumers “Turik and Balk are seeking class action status for a lawsuit alleging that these travel sites, as well as Priceline (PCLN) and others, not only failed to offer consumers the best deals, but actually conspired with several large hotel chains to fix prices and prevent competitors from offering you cheaper rooms.”

Well it’s not really surprising – the hotels depend on the large online travel sites for a big piece of their business.   So they have no choice but to smile while Mssrs Expedia, Travelocity and Priceline have them by the short and curlies (sorry old Naval expression I picked up from my dad – no idea what it means!)

Honestly, what is the world coming to?  We got the internet and everything was lovely – then it started getting horrible with worms, bots, viruses and spam emails galore.  Then our cell phones turned into mini computers with email coming in 24/7 and our kids won’t even answer their phones – they just text.

You can’t trust anything online any more.  For all you know I am not a real person at all.  I am just sitting here in cyberspace making this all up.

From : http://www.walletpop.ca/blog/2012/09/05/are-online-travel-deal-sites-ripping-you-off/