By Martin Kelly, Editor, Travel Trends

THIS may sound petty but it’s really bugging me so I’ll just come right out with it. I cannot take companies seriously that don’t keep the ‘News’ section on their website updated. Why feature a news section if it’s full of old stuff? That’s not news. It’s a rotting smell telling everyone who goes to the site that the company in question – and there are lots of them – does not care about getting the simple things right.

A case in point is the Oaks Hotels and Resorts site, which I visited today. I was looking for an announcement the company made recently. What I found was the PR equivalent of a dinosaur’s grave yard. The most recent press release was more than two years old, dated 5 September, 2006. Yet the company is listed on the Australian Stock Exchange (where I eventually discovered what I was looking for) and has more than 30 properties under management.

Cleary Oaks makes announcements all the time but hadn’t bothered to put them on its primary branding medium – which is what websites are these days. Ironically, the Oaks website appears to have been designed with the media in mind. Not only does it feature an ‘Oaks News’ page (highlighted on the menu bar), the site also has a ‘News and Media Releases’ page. The only correlation between the two is that they each feature old news – none of the information appears to be the same.

Companies can’t get away with this stuff any more. They cannot post words like “With a clear focus on the need to meet the expectations of guests and the performance required by investors, Oaks Hotels & Resorts are well placed to deliver successful outcomes on all future management undertakings” while ignoring Communication 101. At some point the brand and its message has to suffer. Travel October 29, 2008

Share and Enjoy: