A HOLIDAYMAKER nearly boiled over when she saw her “VIP” cottage’s hot tub.
Travel companies are promoting holidays with glamorous pictures when the real accommodation is run-down, a building site or somewhere else entirely, according to consumer group Which?.
It is reporting various holiday firms to the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) over claims the images they used to advertise hotels and villas were different to the actual buildings.
One customer, Linda Allsop, complained after she arrived outside a beach-side hotel she’d booked through Holiday Hypermarket – only to be directed to the one over the road.
She said the Levante Park hotel was advertised as “on a beach”, instead of two minutes’ walk away, with pictures of the Hotel Levante used online instead of the correct hotel.
Linda told Which?: “I was in sheer disbelief that I wasn’t staying in the hotel pictured.”
The website has since been updated to say it is “near the beach” and has pictures of the correct hotel, but Which? has reported it to the ASA saying it misled customers.
Holidaymaker Francesca Brown also complained after she booked a “VIP” cottage with a hot tub on the Isle of Wight through Hoseasons.
The website showed pictures of the hot tub on a green lawn bordered by flowers, but in reality it was on a patch of grass covered in weeds and cigarette butts, surrounded by a shabby fence.
She said: “It looked more like a prison yard than a premium cottage.”
CRANE SWINGING OVER THE POOL
Francesca received an £86 refund – around 15 per cent of the cost of the holiday.
Other complaints from tourists include one from Robert Thompson, who found his hotel in Rhodes was completely run-down, with rusty sun loungers and a balcony door handle which fell off in his hand.
He got £500 in compensation over the state of the Hotel Castello di Rodi after undergoing a lengthy complaints process through the Association of British Travel Agents (ABTA).
Another traveller complained that the five-star Movenpick hotel in Dubai was right next to major building works – with a crane swinging over the pool.
He booked through Travel Republic which refused his refund request saying there was a warning about “enhancement works” on the website. Which? found the warning was only in the small print at the bottom of the payment page.
Rory Boland, Which? travel editor said: “While there are some tell-tale signs to look out for before you book, no one is immune to falling for an idyllic set of promo photos.
“Hotels and booking sites should not be misleading holidaymakers with promises they can’t keep. If your hotel is a far cry from what you were expecting you do have rights to be moved or to a refund, so don’t be afraid to use them.”
A spokesman for Tui said it “takes all customer feedback seriously” and was “reviewing the content on its website” to look for possible improvements.
Hoseasons said: “The images of the site are representative of the customer experience, although in some cases we recognise there are variations in the outdoor space. We are reviewing the current pictures to ensure they give a clear overview of the site and will be removing any we believe don’t meet our guidelines.”