Friday, April 13, 2012

New Zealand motels having and attack of honesty?

Are me beady old eyes deceiving me . . . or has the New Zealand motel industry had an attack of honesty?

In the course of checking out motel prices in Blenheim and Kaikoura as I write the State Highway 1 material for my Travel Guide I have noticed a phenomenon not previously seen: Motels actually offering rates below their advertised rate on the AA Travel website.

I have been a trenchant critic of the motel industry using bait advertising. Rates shown on widely used sites such as Jasons and AA often have no relation to reality.

But in these two towns things have changed - or maybe it's just that things are tough and there's a bit of discounting. Either way, in Kaikoura, for instance, 12 out of 20 motels surveyed were showing low season rates that were equal to or below their AA rate and another couple were only $2 a night dearer than advertised.

One, however, Beachcomber Motel, was a full $20 above their advertised rate. That's dishonesty by any measure.

In Blenhein four out of 13 were offering units at the promoted rate.

It may be that the now widespread availability of online booking engines means that the punters can check out rates instantly . . . thus removing the incentive to use bait advertising. It's not a good look to be caught lying about tariffs. Might lead to instant use of the back button.

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