Advantages Good layout, easy navigation, huge database
Disadvantages Web site content is managed by the hotels, discounts may not be available
As you are undoubtedly aware, I spend the larger part of my life in seedy hotel rooms, and it has become my mission in life to find decent hotel accommodation, without having to spend a fortune. Ever since Lady Moose first wrote about this site, I’ve often dipped in and out to see what’s what, and finally come to some sort of conclusion about the service offered. As a rule, I book my hotel rooms through a travel agent, but in order to keep them on their toes, I keep myself up to date with the deals on offer online, to make sure they are working hard for their money.WHAT IS LATEROOMS.COM ALL ABOUT?
“The hotel industry late availability database”.Sounds good doesn’t it? This immediately conjures up images of a system similar to that adopted by high street travel agents, where hotel rooms will be slashed in price to make a quick sale. With the events of September 11th, the travel industry as a whole is going through a slump, so the deals available for customers should be better than ever. www.laterooms.com is a relatively new player in the online travel industry and offers cut-price hotel accommodation across the UK, Europe and the rest of the world. “Database” is an appropriate description for this site, because it holds an enormous catalogue of hotels and guesthouses in a wide range of destinations and resorts. The site is affiliated with www.latelet.com who specialise in cottages, villas and other holiday homes and with www.latecabins.com who deal with cruises.
NAVIGATIONFirst impressions of the web site have always been disappointing for me – a bland design, complemented with a lacklustre colour scheme certainly doesn’t inspire the visitor. That aside, the home page is free from flashy graphics, annoying pop-ups and lurid advertisements to distract you, and there is a lot to be said for keeping things simple. There are five separate drop-down menus presented on the home page, presenting the various geographical categories in five separate languages (which could probably more easily be facilitated via a simple menu with language options).
Once you have selected a country, you will then be presented with a listings screen, which shows typical deals available in the country of your choice. One of the things that I like most about this site is that it is tightly focused on providing users with information. The layout is logical and simple, and the few advertisements shown relate directly to the matter in hand – hotel accommodation. Hence, we are not taunted with unwanted links to an online gaming site, or an advert for Britannia music. Advertising doesn’t have to be a nuisance if it is well-managed and relevant.I would argue that the font size used to display the details of the hotels is too small, but this could easily be rectified. I also think that too many deals are presented on one page, but again these are minor criticisms. On the whole, navigation around the site is simple, intuitive and fast.
FINDING A ROOMOnce you have selected the country of your choice, you can then carry out a more detailed search for the exact location that you require.
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