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在线旅游网站不可告人的小秘密

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小编摘要:假期即将来临,因此搞清楚这一点很重要,由于技术漏洞,我们最终可能根本住不上网上预订的酒店客房。

在线旅游网站不可告人的小秘密

大家万圣节那个周末是怎么过的?我家过得出乎意料又苦不堪言:美国东北部经历了一场反复无常的冬季暴风雪,许多业主家中因电线倒塌而停电。我家住在纽约郊区,我们靠着毛毯度过了第一夜。但是第二天晚上,室外温度下降到了零下3.8摄氏度,而室内也只勉强达到了10摄氏度。
So, what nightmare did you celebrate on Halloween Weekend? My family's was neither imagined nor fun: There had been a freakish winter snowstorm in the Northeast and many homeowners lost electricity in their homes due to downed power lines. At our house in the New York suburbs, we did fine the first night with blankets. But the next night, it was 26 degrees outside and barely 50 indoors.
于是,我们登录最大的网上旅行社Expedia,幸运地预订上了8英里外一家名为哈普顿的酒店。但当我们赶到那里,酒店却根本没有听说过我们。我拿出Expedia的预定号也不管用——这家连锁酒店本身并没有给我任何凭证。酒店经理说:“你是今晚第二个碰到这种情况的人。”
We logged on to Expedia -- the largest online travel agency -- and were lucky to find a reservation at a Hampton Inn eight miles away. But when we got there, the hotel had never heard of us. It didn't matter that I had an Expedia reservation number -- I didn't have anything from the hotel chain itself. "You're the second person tonight this happened to," said the hotel manager.
这就是在线旅行社界不可告人的小秘密。不管通过什么方式预订,总是存在这种风险:你达到酒店后,发现它已经超额预定了——就如同航空公司可能并没有它事先承诺的座位。但假如通过Expedia或Travelocity以及其他第三方供应商,则还存在一个额外的风险。如果这些供应商的软件没能正确连接上酒店的电子预订系统,那么就算这些供应商的网站声称你已经成功预订,你最终也住不上那个房间。
It's the dirty little secret in the world of the online travel agencies. No matter how you make your reservation, you always run a tiny risk of arriving at your hotel and finding it overbooked -- just like an airline may not have that seat it promised. But there's an additional risk when you use a third-party provider like Expedia or Travelocity or a range of other companies. If its software doesn't properly hook up to the hotel's electronic booking system, you don't have the room the site claims you reserved.
这就是发生在我身上的事。事实上,汉普顿旅店自当天早上起,就没收到任何预定请求,虽然Expedia已经接受了下单。
That's what happened to me. In fact, that Hampton Inn hadn't been taking reservations since that morning, yet Expedia was accepting reservations for it.
Expedia的一位高管告诉我,因为周末发生暴风雪,突如其来巨大的访问量导致网站几近瘫痪。Expedia客户服务部高级总监托马斯?? 思博特称:“我们确实做好了技术上的安排,防止发生这种情况。肯定是(我们和酒店)两个库存系统中的某一个出现过载。”思博特称这种情形出现的几率“非常非常低”,不过从“技术层面上说”,“飓风、停电或火山爆发”都可能会导致这种情况。当然,出现这种情形的时候,也正是用户衷心希望这些大型在线预定系统能保证正常工作的时候。
An Expedia executive told me its website was hit with extraordinary demand that weekend because of the storm. "We have technology set up to ensure that what happened doesn't happen," says Thomas Siebert, senior director of customer service at Expedia. "It has to be that either of the two inventory systems -- ours or the hotel's -- became overwhelmed." He says such occurrences are "very, very rare," but can happen in a "technology environment" when there are "hurricanes, blackouts, or volcanoes." Which of course is precisely when customers would hope that a large online booking system would work properly.
拿我们来说,酒店打电话给Expedia,然后Expedia又打电话给我,它们表示无能为力,除了能把我的预付款退还给我(要知道,我根本没有入住酒店)。思博特称Expedia的系统一错再错,因为它本应该帮我们找到另一家能入住的酒店,即使距离很远。多亏上帝保佑,等了一段时间后,有一家人因为家里电力恢复退掉了房间,我们终于住进了这家酒店。
In our situation, the hotel called Expedia and then Expedia (EXPE) called me, only to say there was nothing to be done but that Expedia would be willing to refund my deposit (you know, for the room we never got). Siebert said the Expedia system failed doubly because the company should have figured out how to find us another hotel property, even if it were many miles away. Only through luck did we wind up getting into the hotel some time later, after another family canceled their stay because their power had returned.
值得表扬的是,Expedia承认自己出了问题——并提醒以后仍可能发生,而且思博特还强调Expedia无法找出“问题根源”。(一位发言人表示,酒店方面也找不到原因。)无独有偶,去年预订总收入达260亿美元的Expedia并不是唯一一家存在这个问题的公司。Hotels.com和 Expedia属于同一家母公司,据思博特称,前者也使用了同样的计算机系统。
To its credit, Expedia acknowledged it messed up -- and noted it could happen again, all the more since Seibert says Expedia can't identify the "root cause." (Nor could the hotel chain, according to a spokesperson.) And Expedia, with $26 billion in gross bookings last year, isn't alone. Hotels.com, owned by the same parent as Expedia, has the same computer system, according to Siebert.
Travelocity的一位代表称:“整体预订中的一小部分”可能被漏掉。类似的,Orbitz的一位发言人说:“在特殊情况下,空房数变化过快,以致酒店的预订系统来不及更新。”而Priceline的一位发言人则表示,这种问题不可能发生,因为客户收到的是酒店自身提供的实际预定号;因此,Priceline的客户不用承担额外的风险,他们被Priceline电脑系统欺骗的几率与他们直接在酒店网站上进行预定时没什么不同。
A representative for Travelocity says "a fraction of overall bookings" get dropped. Similarly, at Orbitz (ORBT), says a spokesperson, "there may be special circumstances when availability is changing so rapidly that the hotel's reservation system is not updated fast enough." By contrast, a Priceline (PCLN) spokesman says the problem couldn't occur because customers receive the actual confirmation number provided by hotels; Priceline customers would then have no more chance of being victimized by a computer system than if they just reserved directly at the web site of a hotel.
这段经历告诉我们的教训是不要迷信技术。如果使用的是第三方预订系统——数百万人都是如此——那不妨直接与预订的酒店确认。特别是在风雪交加的夜晚。
The lesson here is not to have blind faith in technology. If you use third-party reservation systems -- and millions do -- it never hurts to check directly with the hotel you booked. Especially if it's on the night of a big snowstorm.
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2011-11-28 13:46 编辑:kuaileyingyu
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