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the POSH guide
The best of Southeast Asia

POSH Hotel Deals – 22 June 2012

22 June 2012
Filed under: Hotels — Tags: , , — Michael @ 9:58 pm

I’m only passing on a single deal this week. It’s been a slow week for some reason. There was actually one other deal I thought worth telling you about, but there were some issues with it, and since there’s now plenty of room I thought I would tell you a little about how I find and vet these offers.

Most of the deals I list in this weekly blog post come to me by email, either directly from the hotels, or via newsletters from other sources such as magazines. Sometimes I will spot a special offer advertised on the web, and occasionally, when I’m aware of a new hotel that’s just opened, I will check with the hotel’s own web site to see if they have any promotions available to entice guests.

No matter how I hear about a deal, I always visit the hotel’s web site to verify the details, and of course find the link to refer you to so you can book the deal. This is where problems sometimes occur. If the fine print for a promotion says something like “subject to availability” I’ll try to make a booking. If their site keeps telling me there are no rooms available at that rate after several attempts, I conclude the ‘deal’ is really the old bait-and-switch and I don’t pass it along. That’s happened once or twice already in the few months since I started doing this deal round-up.

Usually, though, if there’s a problem it’s much more fundamental: simply bad web site design. Hotels seem to have some of the very worst web sites you’ll ever encounter, and it doesn’t seem to matter whether it’s a small independent boutique hotel or a big chain. The mistakes these businesses make are numerous, but they do generally have a common thread. The sites are often visually stunning, using lots of photographs and fancy graphics, but in creating these graphic showcases, the businesses have forgotten the two most basic requirements of any commercial web site: usability and link-ability.

Ever wonder why you can’t find the web site for a hotel? It’s usually because the site is created using all graphics or ‘Flash’ animations without any text. Search engines like Google can only read and index the text on a web page. If the page contains nothing but images, the search engine can’t accurately know what it’s about. That same ‘cutting edge’ technology can also make a site difficult to use or link to, which brings me to the deal I’m not posting this week: Sofitel is running a summer promotion that gives you a fourth night free if you book three nights. At least, I think that’s the deal. It took several attempts to even find a description of the deal on the Sofitel web site, and then it was a pop-over thingy with tiny text and even tinier custom sliders. It wasn’t a page I could link too, and it was so difficult to find that I didn’t think it likely that most customers could find it.

This isn’t the first time I’ve done battle with Sofitel’s web site. In an industry where bad site design is the norm, this chain seems to have gone the extra mile to make their site almost unusable. The last encounter I had with the site, it was so slow and unresponsive that I had to give up even trying to use it. It’s still slow, and difficult to use. Much of the text is so small I was tempted to pull out a magnifying glass. You have to wonder how such a huge corporation like Accor could make so many fundamental mistakes with their web site.

Okay, rant over. This week’s deal:

The Fullerton Hotel, Singapore

Built in 1925, the building now housing the Fullerton was once home to Singapore’s post office, and later the Exchange and even for a while the Singapore Club. The historic edifice was fully restored and turned into a 400+ room hotel in 2001. The hotel promises a perfect blend of old and new, with state-of-the-art fittings and broadband Internet. The hotel offers a pool, spa, fitness center, fashion boutiques and four restaurants.

Fullerton Hotel

The grand old facade of the Fullerton Hotel in Singapore.

The deal: The ‘Summer Special’ offers a Courtyard Room, including breakfast for two, an additional dining credit of S$38 per stay, complementary Internet usage and late checkout, for rates starting at S$358. A minimum stay of two nights is required. Book and stay before 30 September 2012. See the Fullerton Hotel web site for details.


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