Wednesday, 20 February 2008

Where Is A Genuine Last Minute.Com?

I was looking to make a last minute (same day) hotel reservation in London and then I realised there’s no decent, simple, effective website that’s out there.

Despite their positioning, and do not do what they say on the tin. The rates are not that discounted; you have to wade through ‘London hotels’ that include some B&B on the North Circular and a low-grade hotel in Paddington. And rates do not seem to change whether you are looking one week or one day before you are booking.

Where is the website for genuine late availability deals at Central London hotels for business travellers? does offer deals but many of these are their ‘Top Secret Hotels’, with the rationale that the rate is so cheap we cannot tell you where the hotel is until you book it. Sorry, that doesn’t work for me. I want to know what I am buying before I click on ‘buy’.

There are a couple of hotels out there with effective and innovative online offerings. The Hoxton has its popular sale where prices are heavily discounted and there are still deals to be had depending on what night you are staying. Chiswick's High Road House, part of The Soho House Group also has a neat but ever-so-simple page on its site, called ‘Last Minute Bedrooms’ where you can get decent on-the-day reservations (where available) for £100, or opt for a day-before-booking for a bit more.

The big travel websites should learn some lessons from these boutique hotels. I may not know much about hotel room business models, but surely hotels want to sell rooms rather than have them empty? In which case, where is a simple, focused and effective website that does the job?

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