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Forgive me for sounding bitter - my brother is an e-commerce developer, so he's convinced me that on-line businesses are as worthy of support as charity.
So it was that, this March, my aunt visited me from Singapore and wanted to visit Paris. It was the start of Easter break at University, so I admit it wasn't easy getting bookings for anything. But that's no excuse.
I went on to lastminute.com, looking for either package deals to Paris for the weekend, or separate deals on air tickets and hotel bookings. Now, I'm a student, so price is a big factor, which is what this website is supposed to be good at. Well, they do seem to have sacrificed technological quality.
The search engines took me to somewhat irrelevant things, the the drill down structures were not totally sensible either. I did eventually manage to find the items I was looking for, but a number of the links just didn't work. I finally gave up, and got air tickets from cheapflights.co.uk, and found hotel bookings from lastminute.com. Why they can't put hotel addresses on the site is beyond me.
Of course, needless to say, when we arrived in Paris, the hotel I had booked did not have my name on their files. They told me that lastminute.com often sends people to them without actually confirming the place. So there I was, with my aunt in Paris on a rainy Friday night, with no hotel booking. The hotel manager was nice enough to find me another place, and even agreed to ensure that I did not pay the higher rates of the next hotel - only the price I had agreed with lastminute.com
Paris itself was lovely (except for the staff strike at the Louvre), but both my aunt and I were shaking our heads in disbelief that such a well-known company can't get it's bookings right, or even keep it's server stable enough for customers to browse the options available consistently.