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Net may give you a bad trip

BEING A tech-savvy traveller can sometimes spoil your trip abroad. Don?t believe this? Read on? The hotel room bookings made over the Internet by certain Lucknowites for foreign destinations put them into trouble when they landed on an alien country with no one to guide them at the airport.

india Updated: Apr 17, 2006 00:38 IST

BEING A tech-savvy traveller can sometimes spoil your trip abroad. Don’t believe this? Read on…

The hotel room bookings made over the Internet by certain Lucknowites for foreign destinations put them into trouble when they landed on an alien country with no one to guide them at the airport. Their mistake was that they booked hotel rooms randomly from unknown travel portals on the Internet and not by directly visiting the hotel’s official website.

Consider the case of  Manoj Desai, a merchant banker who booked a room in a prominent hotel in Singapore during November last year over the Internet from a not-so-well-known travel website . He was couriered the airline ticket and a slip  containing details of confirmed hotel booking in Singapore’s elite Orchard Road within a week after his credit card payment was accepted by a travel house in New Delhi.

Desai later sat with his wife and two kids at the Singapore International airport for six hours waiting for the hotel cab to pick him up from the airport. “Before my trip, I had thought of this great idea of  booking a hotel room in Singapore all by myself over the internet to avoid all that “tour operator commissions”. It’s wiser to book hotel rooms and even airline tickets through a recognised  tour operator in your own city”, he said.

“The hotel where I made my room bookings over the Internet had free transportation facility mentioned on the website. Moreover, the hotel receptionist only spoke Mandarin. This posed a major problem for me as it was my first trip to Singapore”, he said.

Ashok Chawla, a young engineer spent a night in a hotel in Bangkok and was charged double for the stay as the room rates displayed on the website were not “updated” for six months. “When I looked at my credit card bills later, I was in for a shock. The room rate in the Thai hotel displayed was US $ 200 a night. I got billed at the rate of US $ 350 a night. Unless you are 100 per cent sure about the claims made by a hotel about its facilities abroad in a travel portal, better look for a tour operator,” he said.

“It is our experience that Internet bookings for hotel rooms and in some cases even airline seats are generally avoided by Lucknowites when they travel abroad. You never know where you would land up in a foreign land without the help of travel managers who wait at the airport to assist tourists arriving in a foreign country for holidays”, Vivek Pandey, Branch Head of Delhi Express Holidays (UP & Uttaranchal) told HT Lucknow Live.