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Keeping out bad apples

19 October 2006

Mike Bevans's letter (Caterer, 12 October) calls for less misrepresentation on the web, but while some of the mistakes are accidental, others are not.

I would estimate 30% of hotel descriptions on the internet are out of date in some respect within a year, often as a result of redevelopment, changes of ownership, or obsolescence.

Worse, however, are cases of hoteliers themselves who stretch the truth. Being "close to an airport" can now mean a
25-mile drive, while a so-called "stone's throw from the beach" may involve a half-hour walk. The "hotel restaurant" can be a fast-food joint next door, internet access may be confined to a tiny corner of the lounge, and a "spa" may be no more than a visiting masseuse. Even worse are hotel photographs, which turn out to be a shot of the town hall, or of the nearby castle.

Supranational generates $200m (£107m) in reservations for 1,500 hotels in 70 countries, and happily the majority of our hoteliers work hard to convey and display accurate material, but there are rotten apples.

Consequently we now discreetly police our site to catch out those who deliberately mislead. These are the tactics of the used car salesman, and should have no place in our industry.

Niels Pedersen
Managing director, Supranational Hotels, London

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