Friday, December 15, 2006

We Interrupt the 12 Days of Blogger Christmas for the Following Paid Commercial Announcement

First of all, thanks for all the kind comments and ego stroking on my poetry efforts. But y'all do know that I have no freakin' idea what I'm doing? I'm just pretending to be able to write, and frankly it's pretty exhausting. I once took a two week poetry writing class during our Winterim enrichment period during high school. On the day I was supposed to present my work to the class, the guy before spent a half hour presenting his tone poem about a horrifying event that happened during his childhood. I still vividly remember the last line, "I floated down the stairs petrified with terror, and stepped into a puddle, of Dad." It was pretty wicked stuff.

I had written a really dreadful song about a Dungeons and Dragon character. Something like "I Got Them Half-Orc Blues," or some crap like that. After the therapy session of the first guy's poem parsing, I just said I hadn't finished yet and took the incomplete. Coleridge, I ain't.

But in the middle of this poetry cycle came an opportunity from www.reviewme.com to review www.hotelreservations.com . Hmm, a conundrum. These reviews are time sensitive, and I sorta made a commitment to follow through with the assignment, even if it is in the middle of the holiday season and my "gifts" of poetry to my favorite bloggers. Can I really interrupt this artistic cycle to insert the crass commercialization of a paid review?

Of course I can! That's exactly what you all would expect here at The Dry Spot. I follow through with my commitments and never flinch from the opportunity to insert some capitalism amongst the sentimentality.

Plus [REVIEW BEGINS HERE IF YOU HAVEN'T BEEN PAYING ATTENTION], www.hotelreservations.com is a pretty cool site. I'm one of those geeks who likes to make all of his own travel reservations, despite the fact that we have a corporate travel agent. I know that whatever fee they charge is probably cheaper than the time I spend jumping around from site to site, comparing flights and hotel pricing. Until recently, I primarily used travelocity.com as the conduit for these searches.

Then last month, I had a really bad experience with them. Without going into too much detail, let's just say that they switched a flight to an entirely different day without telling me and that I spent three hours on a Sunday night talking to a guy named "Lucky" (yeah, right) in Calcutta trying to work out the problem. This was compounded by the fact that travelocity.com's hold music has a 30 second loop of cool jazz guitar licks that I know I heard 200 times during the time that I was on hold waiting for "Lucky" (yeah, right), and you can imagine my level of frustration. Eventually I told "Lucky" (yeah, right), "Sir, you realize that what we're doing know is arguing over the end of our business relationship. You guys tell me that I'm a V.I.P. Member, but I'm not feeling very "I" right now!" So a month later, they refunded the money that was wasted on a hotel reservation that was rendered unusable by the fact that they had moved my flight to the day after I was due to check out. Nice.

So the timing is perfect if somebody wanted to try to sell me on a new travel research/booking site. And along comes www.hotelreservations.com. The site is sparsely, but attractively designed. Not that it helps me, but I appreciate the fact that you can choose your language and currency to display the information right on the opening home page. In addition to the expected airline, hotel and rental car options, www.hotelreservations.com also offers vacation packages and vacation rental properties, both of which distinguish them most other travel reservation sites. They also offer the opportunity to talk to living, breathing humans if you need help. I don't know what country they are in, but even if there are cattle in the street outside the window from their cubicle, they have to be better than travelocity.com.

I also liked the little details like the fact that when you enter a proposed departure or check-in date, the little calendar thingy automatically changes to display the dates following, rather than just defaulting to January or the current month. This feature would certainly help to avoid people (ahem, I'm looking at you, "Lucky" (yeah, right)) accidentally scheduling return flights for the day before they leave or hotel departures before their flights arrive. Can you tell I'm still steaming?

They also have a "travel roulette" page where you can just check out the deals from the top U.S. and international travel destinations. If you have lots of free time and money, I'll bet it would be fun to use this feature to plan trips or just to dream about them. Of course, if you have all this free time and money, why are you visiting this site? Go chase a Hilton sister.

So www.hotelreservations.com will at least earn a crack at my business. Their timing is perfect; their interface is easy and intuitive to use; and their pricing seems competitive with most other travel sites. The Dry Spot says give them a gander. If you choose to use that other site instead, say howdy to "Lucky" (yeah, right) for me.

We now return to the unbridled sentimentality of the holidays. Ho, ho, ho.




11 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Stepped into a puddle of Dad? Stepped into a puddle of Dad? How did he step into a puddle of his dad? This is going to give me nightmares!!

Travelocity - boy, have they gone downhill and it's a shame, for them. They used to be good. I used to use them exclusively and haven't had any need to use them recently, but a friend of mine is about to take them to court. He had an experience much like yours this year, but tack several hundred dollars onto it that he is still out. After his and your experience, think I'll make a point to not use them again, period.

5:12 PM  
Blogger newscoma said...

You did a review. I couldn't get passed what Lynnster couldn't get passed.
"Puddle of Dad."
Wow.

6:45 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I still can't read the whole review. I got the part about "Travelocity sucks" and something about horrid customer service reps. A little bit.

But I'm still basically stuck on the puddle of Dad.

1:31 AM  
Blogger Rex L. Camino said...

"Puddle of Dad" reminds me of a short story writing workshop I took at MTSU. We were each to bring a story we'd written and read it aloud at the table. There were three of us, and the first student began with a story about one roommate killing another with a steak knife. The second topped that with a vivid account of a pimp disemboweling a prostitute. I then had to follow with my lighthearted tale of a stuttering preacher called in to investigate a kid speaking in tongues.

7:51 AM  
Anonymous Lucky said...

As a young man in Calcutta, I also stepped into a puddle of dad.

8:00 AM  
Blogger John H said...

Not that I'm getting here first, but it's pretty hard to forget puddle of Dad when you are attempting to read the rest of what I'm sure is a spankin' good review. As Dave Barry would say..puddle of Dad..now THAT would make a great band name.

I feel very lucky indeed to be a regular consumer of 'The Dry Spot'.

8:31 AM  
Blogger ceeelcee said...

Lynnster-Get some sleep, sweetie. I might have even made that whole "puddle of Dad" thing up. It's all kinda hazy from back then in high school. (a green haze if you know what I mean...) But I think that's what he said.

Maybe I did make it up. It'd be good if I did, huh?

8:59 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

make sure you and your friends consider us to book hotel room when u travel next time. ....from, management of hotelreservations.com

9:16 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It doesn't matter. Made up or not, it's impossible to get past the "puddle of Dad". Except I did get past it just enough to read a couple more lines of the review this time and noted something about chasing Hilton sisters, but then I was right back on the Puddle of Dad again.

Something tells me Black Santa might know something about the Puddle of Dad, but we can't ask him now since Hutchmo pissed him off and he went away...

(PS green haze - you had those in HS too, huh? Heh.)

12:38 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

PS You can bet when I write my best selling horror novel, I am finding a way to work the Puddle of Dad in there. (Don't worry, I'll cut you a percentage of the profit...) :D

12:40 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thanks for writing about our site HotelReservations.com, your review means a lot to us.

Please consider us to book your hotel needs when you and your friends travel next time.

....from management of HotelReservations.com

3:59 PM  

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