Indiana Jones and the legend of the mythical £9 hotel room
Ah, the fabled hotel-rooms-for-less-than-a-tenner promotion. How could you possibly resist such a deal? You can't. You want it. Now. Whether you get it is an entirely different matter. Last September, Travelodge advertised "thousands of rooms" at £9 per night. Unfortunately the majority of them appeared to be exclusively available at a previously unmentioned, unadvertised and invisible lunar colony.
The Advertising Standards Agency (ASA) received three complaints regarding the availability of the cheapo rooms. Travelodge responded with some facts and figures; out of two million rooms available during the stay dates, around 67,000 (3.3 per cent) were available at £9. 350 hotels took part, with two hotels excluded due to "an apparent oversight". Another 8,500 rooms were added on the second day of the sale, the Travelodge management apparently caught by surprise of the offer's success, as they always seemingly are.
Now if 3.3 per cent sounds low to you, then you're not alone: Travelodge admitted the percentage of £9 rooms available varied widely from hotel to hotel, ranging from under one per cent to nearly 30 per cent. In fact only two of the 350 hotels had percentages of available rooms that exceeded the 10 per cent figure the ASA typically regards as a minimum requirement - no doubt some hole of a location that nobody ever wants to visit, and that one on the Moon.
The ASA upheld the complaints and stated that "even if demand had not been higher than anticipated, customers would be likely to experience difficulty in finding a room at the offer price." What action is to be taken against the company for misleading customers and whoring itself on the back of a dubious promotion? None whatsoever. As usual. All the very best.