How NOT to do a sponsored listing courtesy of & Westin Hotels

So the family is headed to DC for our annual “show the kids a new great American city” trip, and I was on looking for hotel rooms today. First of all let me say, I love DC and I love I travel to DC often for business and is my go to travel booking site.

But I noticed something today in my search results that I’d call an epic marketing fail. See below.


Umm, no thanks. I’d rather pay the $381 for a room at the Westin Hotel DC than your amazing offer of $2,075!!??? WTF is that?

Three obvious problems here:
1) It looks plain ridiculous for a hotel to have their low organic rate showing up right next to their “special” advertisement (they are paying for that remember) when the price is literally offensive and..

2) Running a sponsored ad at a price point that is 7 times more than the highest other property in the search results is like using a hotel room phone to call long distance at $3.99/min when you have free minutes on your cell phone. A complete waste. No one is ever clicking on that. And…

3) The whole point of using a site like or Travelocity is to find cheaper & discounted rates. I would think they’d have a rule in their search algo to never show prices above a certain level – say $1,000 per night – as it just looks ridiculous and not a usable search result for a user. Hello?

Whoever is in charge of sponsored listings at needs help, and they need to tweak their algorithm.

And whoever at Westin Hotels is paying for these ads needs to have a talk with their account manager asap.



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