You never know what you're getting yourself into when you're booking your flight on an unfamiliar airline, room at a hotel or table at a restaurant. Your seat or table reservations may not be up to par, or the amenities may be unsuitable. Instead of living in fear of the unknown, visit the websites of one of these three innovative businesses that bring transparency tyranny to hospitality and travel.
Get A Better Seat On Airplanes
SeatGuru, which has now been partnered with and purchased by TripAdvisor.com makes sure you get a comfortable seat on your next flight. Let's face it; unless you take the same flight on same type of plane on a regular basis, you're making seat selections in the dark. Without knowing, you might find yourself being smacked by the opening lavatory door, strapped for leg room due to the positioning of the rows, or on a long overnight flight with a seat that doesn't recline.
SeatGuru provides color-coded layouts of the major airlines airplanes, from Aer Lingus to West Jet. Not only does the color-coding differentiate between good seats, bad seats, mediocre and standard seats, by highlighting the seat section over the layout you can find out exactly why it has been classified that way. SeatGuru relies on user comments based on their personal flight experiences to determine where to sit and where not to sit on each flight. Seats classified as bad may be due to lack of leg room, temperatures that are too hot/too cold, smaller seats, poor view of overhead TV's, no tray tables, and lack of storage. Good seats are typically classified as such due to increased leg room, bigger seats, more storage, first-to-be served meal and drink locations and more. Seats classified as standard on each flight have received no positive or negative user reviews.
SeatGuru's layouts also show where the overhead TV's are located incase you have a preference of distance for your viewing pleasure, which areas have power ports for use of laptops and electronics, a ‘seat pitch' rating which demonstrates leg room, as well as emergency exits, crew seats, galleys, lavatories and closets (specifics, of course, depend on the airplane). SeatGuru is strictly a resource to travelers, so seat reservations and changes cannot be made using their services without contacting a travel agent or airline directly; right now, they're just happy to make people smile when they find themselves sitting in a "green" seat.
Get A Better Table At Restaurants
Wagaboo is a chain of restaurants in Madrid and Barcelona, Spain, which now makes the reservation process convenient and more revealing for prospective diners. Like Seat Guru, Wagaboo provides layouts of each of their restaurants on their website for food lovers looking to book a table. When users log into the site, they are asked a few simple questions; including the restaurant they'd like to eat at, the date and time they plan to visit, the number of people in their party and whether they'd prefer smoking or non-smoking.
Once diners have entered the required information, Wagaboo's reservation function pulls up a layout of the restaurant and users a red dot to recommend the best table based on the criteria entered. Diners can proceed with the reservation, or choose from any other available tables during that period suitable for their party size, which are marked with green dots. By taking a look at the restaurant maps online, diners can make sure they don't get plunked down next to the hostess stand, bathroom or entrance to the kitchen; always dreaded restaurant placements, or choose whether they'd like to dine near the front, back, or in an area with fewer tables. This prevents unpleasant arguments between patrons and the restaurant management when they demand to be moved to a better table when all are full. A more pleasant dining experience is had by all when reservations are made through Wagaboo's website and its own form of transparency tyranny.
Get A Better Hotel Room
TripKick, like many hotel and travel review sites provides ratings and general information about many hotels in the United States; however, they take this phenomenon to the next level by offering more revealing views of the accommodations than their industry competitors. Basically, TricpKick helps you decide which rooms you should stay in and which rooms you shouldn't when making your reservations. Since most hotel room numbers with the same ending (002, 003 etc) are identical in layout and features, this site can help you learn what to ask for when booking your stay.
For each hotel TripKick tells you which features can be found in each of the room numbers including views, room size, large and luxurious bathrooms, corner rooms, noise levels and more. It also warns you which rooms you should straight out avoid due to unfavorable elements, like noise from the elevators or the street, or those that drew the short straw when hotel layouts were drawn up. In case you're curious, if you plan to stay at the Intercontinental Hotel in Los Angeles, go from rooms ending in 16 which have it all (corner rooms with a great view, oversize and quiet with luxury bathrooms) and avoid rooms ending in 23 for reasons unrevealed.
Like other hotel finder and review websites, you can search for hotels based on location, proximity to city destinations, major features on site (conference center, spas etc), overall feel (elegant, casual), and specific features (balconies, pools, views). But unlike these more typical websites, with TripKick you don't just learn whether others felt the hotel was good or bad; you learn how to enhance your stay by choosing a room that fits exactly what you're looking for. It's transparency tyranny at its best!
With society's increasing focus on rights and complaint, it's no surprise that transparency tyranny is a growing trend with businesses all over the world. It's a convenient way to keep us happy, and keep our mouths shut; so in the hospitality and travel industries, it's a win/win situation for consumers and company management as well as a proven success.