While the spotlight is currently on the business practices of Facebook, Apple and Google there are also rumblings about the activities of some of the large US hotel booking sites and their quest for maximum profits.
Many independent travellers tell of disappointment upon arrival when the room they have booked online overlooks a kitchen extractor fan or has been converted from a housekeeper's cupboard. And it's easy to understand why.
According to Derek Picot, a hotelier for more than 30 years and author of the book Hotel Reservations, hotels segment their inventory and charge premiums for their best rooms with sea views, balconies and more space. Then there are the cheapest rooms which should be called 'next to the elevator' or 'room overlooking the fire escape.'
With online booking sites beating up to 25% commission out of a hotelier it should be no surprise if customers are not allocated the best rooms?
We'll happily manage any hotel booking for you and we may be able to save you money. Hotels say they like our customers as they apparently have a higher than average spend on food and beverages!
And a final word of advice - always be nice to the front desk staff. Not just because you should but because they can improve your stay.
Our gold medal Olympic sailor Sir Ben Ainslie loves Japan's culture and cuisine and has his sights set on Croatia
What do you want from a holiday? I like to keep active when I'm away, so sitting on a beach sunbathing is not for me. For my travels at the moment since my wife, the TV presenter Georgia Thompson and I became parents to 20 month old Bellatrix, our priorities have been family-friendly hotels and as she gets older it will be one with kids clubs so we can enjoy some downtime.
What are you favourite type of holidays? I love being in the mountains taking in the fresh air and seeing the beauty of it all. Georgia and I are keen skiers and we had a short break to Megeve in France in the New Year. I hadn't been skiing for some years to avoid risking injury, so it was great to get back on the slopes. The snow conditions were fantastic.
What are your favourite places in England? Although I spend so much time by the sea, London is actually one of my favourite places in Britain. It has such an amazing combination of culture, history and restaurants. We should be very proud of everything we have to offer. Cornwall is one of the most beautiful places to me even after travelling all over the globe. I grew up there and have great memories of learning to sail in Falmouth with my dad.
Your favourite country to visit? My first time in Tokyo was so surreal when I was there for my first race aged 11. I remember being blown away by all the bright lights, big buildings and hustle and bustle. My lifelong love of Japanese food began on that trip. I absolutely adore Japan. I've been many times and always come away thinking it was an amazing experience. It has such an intriguing culture, the people are welcoming and friendly and the beauty of the countryside is astonishing.
What place disappointed you? Moscow felt a bit grim and utilitarian and I wasn't a big fan when I was there for the Finn Class World Championships. Even though it was summer, it was cold, so it didn't leave me with a great impression.
Most hair-raising experience on water? It was while sailing the Sydney to Hobart race, which takes place every Boxing Day covering 600 miles and crossing the Bass Strait in Tasmania, one of the roughest stretches of water anywhere. The whole journey was very tough and on the second night the wind reached 35 knots with huge waves and despite being in a high performance 100ft yacht, it took a beating with lots of ripped sails.
Your next holiday destination? I want to explore more of Britain, especially Scotland, as I don't know it very well. It's important not to overlook places closer to home, especially for someone who's abroad two weeks out of every month. But Croatia is next on my list. I've never been but will be there next month and in June for super series events in Sibenik, on the Adriatic, at the entrance to the Kornati Islands, and Zadar on the Dalmatian coast.
A selection of customer comments from Trustpilot
I had a detailed itinerary taking in Canada, California and Vegas with well located hotels. Brett did a super job for me finding all the best prices and fitting them all neatly into my schedule. The communication, documentation, advice and payment schedule were punctual, very well put together and all went like clockwork. I would use Brett again in a heartbeat.John Garrett gave DialAFlight 5 stars on Trustpilot. Sparkling footnote: John's name was pulled out of the hat in our monthly Trustpilot draw and a case of Prosecco is on its way.
Found DialAFlight late last night whilst trying (and failing) to book flights online to NY. Asked for a call back in the morning and had the pleasure of speaking with Eve. Within minutes she'd given me 3 options for my dates, reserved my preference whilst I double checked and booked it as soon as I called back. Email confirmation followed and everything's there on an app. And all from the comfort of my sofa!! Brilliant service: thank you so much!Mrs H Messer gave DialAFlight 5 stars on Trustpilot.
Fantastic company for whom nothing is too much trouble. Extremely efficient, polite and helpful. They made such a difference to our holiday going the extra mile helping sort out delays from the snow and without them we would have lost our dream holiday. They respond so quickly and are always there to help. I would absolutely recommend this company.Sharon El-Nashar gave DialAFlight 5 stars on Trustpilot.
I phoned DialAFlight for the first time to book a last minute flight from London to Washington DC. Christian, my Travel Manager, found a convenient flight with a fare hundreds of pounds lower than the fares I had been looking at online. He held the flight for me until the following day when we finalised it on his direct line. He emailed me a few days before departure to check that everything was okay. I will certainly use Christian at DialAFlight in the future for personal, knowledgeable, stress-free booking, especially important when I have more complex multi-city trips to arrange.Karen Raney gave DialAFlight 5 stars on Trustpilot.