Ad Alert

Days Inn by Wyndham Gulfport (Not Pictured)

Be wary of misleading photos on travel sites.

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Ad Alert

Days Inn by Wyndham Gulfport (Not Pictured)

UPDATE 4/17/22: In response to separate inquiries by TINA.org, both Priceline and Booking.com removed the misleading photo of city hall and now only use photos of the actual Days Inn in their listings. Our original ad alert follows.

The internet might lead you to believe that this is the Days Inn in Gulfport, Mississippi:

It’s not. This is:

Yet several travel sites use the photo of the elegant white building in their hotel listings, according to a reverse image search. On some sites, including Priceline and Booking.com, it’s the only image provided.

Priceline:

Booking.com:

In fact, the building is Gulfport City Hall.

The misleading photo also appears in the hotel’s listing on Kayak, where it is the first of two images in a gallery labeled “Building” (the other image is of the actual hotel seen above):

And until TINA.org alerted Tripadvisor to the misleading photo, the image of city hall was the featured image in a gallery of 94 images in the hotel’s listing on its site. The company removed the photo after receiving our inquiry.

In response to an inquiry by TINA.org, Priceline said it got the photo from the hotel. A manager at the hotel said in a phone interview they didn’t provide the photo but added that the hotel is under “new ownership.” Days Inn’s parent company, Wyndham, did not return a request for comment.

Priceline said it has requested updated imagery from the hotel so it can update the listing but as of this writing the photo of city hall remains the only image on the page, without any indication, such as a caption properly identifying the structure, that the building pictured is not the hotel.

TINA.org’s inquiry was prompted by a complaint from a consumer who booked on Priceline and was disappointed when he arrived at the hotel to find it was not the building in the ad.

Kayak did not respond to a request seeking comment.

The takeaway?

When booking online, don’t make a decision to stay anywhere based on one photo. If there’s a gallery, take the time to look at all the images. If there isn’t a gallery with a bunch of images, ask yourself why that may be the case. Also, read reviews from people who have been on the premises and can report back what they’ve seen.

For more on what to watch out for when making a reservation online, click here.


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