Read This Before Booking Your Next Hotel Room

Is there a new con growing in the hotel industry?

We all heard of rotten tales of people thinking that they had bought an advertised product that the retailer had never been authorised to sell in the first place, leaving customers disappointed in a company ‘over promising’, at best, or a comiting fraud at worst.  It happens in many areas of the hospitality industry, but you’d think that it wouldn’t affect a small family run business in the Lake District in the UK.

But imagine this.

You’ve decided to visit the Lake District in the UK, and why wouldn’t you? Around 16 million people a year area drawn to stunning mountain views, crystal lakes, and walking trails for all levels.

There’s so much information available on the internet, that you’ve done your research, read the reviews and happily picked the establishment and the room you want to book.  If you’re a bit savvy, you’ve trawled through the web and found a deal via one of those big sites which claims to compare prices.  You’ve clicked on a page you want to book, and been linked through to the booking system of the third party.  You make your booking, and all seems well.

But is it?  Have you actually booked the place that you went to all the bother of personally selecting? Or have you been ‘baited and switched’?  Will you arrive at your chosen holiday destination, only to find that you’re staying in a different place.  And if so, how has that happened?

Sounds like something that might happen in a country in a less than well developed tourist industry, doesn’t it!

Well, it seems that it may well be the big international companies such as Booking.com and Expedia, who (from our experience) are buying advertising space on Google (nothing wrong with that), but then linking those ads through to completely separate businesses.

Let me write that again.

Big businesses are masquerading as small businesses (in this case The Swinside Inn), and linking customers through to entirely different businesses.

Let’s be clear about this, it’s not a case of offering an alternative if the original business is fully booked, the customer is taken directly to another business.

We don’t want to give exact examples of this, as it wouldn’t be fair on other businesses who seem to be inadvertently benefitting, but to put it simply, if you book to stay at Swinside Inn using any website other than www.swinsideinn.co.uk, you might actually end up staying elsewhere!

This is aggravating for owners of a business, (Ben and Sharon and The Swinside Inn Team) who have worked hard to build reputation and reviews, only for someone else to get the trade. But it’s especially galling for a business who actually uses, and generates income for Booking.com for that same company to be hijacking customers, and booking them in elsewhere.

Having said that, neither Booking.com, nor Expedia, Hotels.com, who have absolutely no connection at all with The Swinside Inn, have been of any help in rectifying the problem.

So we’re left to try to spread the word ourselves.  If you book bed and breakfast at The Swinside Inn, you will be sleeping at the pub, in the same building as the bar and dining areas.

The way that you can ensure this is to book direct with us on our website www.swinsideinn.co.uk, that way, you’ll get what you’re expecting, and we’ll get the business.  Oh, and we’ll give you a 10% discount off any lunches and dinners during your stay (you won’t get that by going through a third party).

So here’s the question (or maybe two):

  1. Have you ever arrived at a prebooked holiday and suspected (or known) that it wasn’t what you’d booked?

  2. Have you ever ‘booked’ to stay at The Swinside Inn and found that you’re staying elsewhere?

Leave us a comment and let us know!