We all know that travel companies” descriptions of holiday destinations have long been known for being creative. However, the internet revolution over the last few years has resulted in more accurate information about holiday resorts than ever being freely available to the man, and woman, in the street forcing travel websites to ‘up their game’ in terms of how they describe holiday locations to their clients.
But bad habits can be difficult to break. We thought that for the second of our consumer reports it might be interesting and fun to compare a selection of descriptions of resorts on Tenerife by some of the UK’s top travel names to see how well they compare with reality.
The results caused a few raised eyebrows and a lot of laughs as well as teaching us a few things we didn’t know such as Playa de la Arena being in the north of the island, Loro Parque is near Playa Paraiso and there are regular boat trips from Puerto de la Cruz to the neighbouring islands.
So which travel companies came out of our research with credibility intact by providing descriptions that at least had some semblance of accuracy?
Travel Companies” Descriptions of Playa Paraiso
Having once seen purpose built Playa Paraiso described as a quaint fishing village, we thought it would serve as a good model to test various online descriptions.
Hats off to Thomsons who wrote ‘Calling it Playa Paraiso was a bit cheeky, cause the beach really isn’t much ““ a small rocky patch of coast”.
First Choice started well with this – ‘small and low-key, Playa Paraiso is a quiet place to spend your holiday, with a little sandy beach, a salt-water lido, hotel-based entertainment and just a handful of bars and restaurants for relaxing evenings.”
But they went on to stretch reality by describing it as a ‘developing resort” – presumably because of the amount of unfinished building work in the area.
Lowcostholidays pushed the poetic licence by describing Playa Paraiso as follows “With the handful of shops, quiet bars and international restaurants, Playa Paraiso holidays provide all you need for a chilled out holiday in the sunshine.” And then nose-dived by saying Loro Parque was ‘nearby’. That would be nearby if you used a helicopter as it’s located on the other side of the island.
EasyJet played it clever by saying “playa Paraiso provides a tranquil getaway by the sea, but is not far from busier resorts if you’d like a vibrant day, or night, out.” which isn’t inaccurate. They strained credibility to the limits by describing it as ‘one of Tenerife’s hidden gems.”
Worst of all though was Thomas Cook who laid it on a bit thick with “playa Paraiso is not huge on ancient history and museums but, in an island where natural beauty is far more impressive than any historical monuments, this resort has got the balance absolutely right.” And then committed copywritten suicide by including the Calblanque nature reserve and Salinas salt flats as nearby attractions. Both of these are located in Murcia in mainland Spain…ouch.
Compare these with online travel agency Sunshine’s Tenerife site which states ‘I don’t wish to be cruel but for a place whose name means “paradise Beach’ there’s no natural beach and it isn’t exactly my idea of paradise.” (Confession time – TM writer Andrea and myself wrote their descriptions so we’re biased, but they did ask for a warts and all and we can vouch for their descriptions being accurate.)
The results of our research suggested that travel companies had improved generally but were still inclined to be too generously creative with their descriptions. Many were also too SEO (search engine optimisation) heavy which often made descriptions clumsy in a bid to get in key phrases like ‘holidays to Tenerife’.
The biggest crime committed by most travel companies was that there were too many errors resulting in misleading information about Tenerife resorts that could lead to serious disappointment for their clients.
Here’s a selection of some of our favourites.
Thomsons described Playa de las Teresitas and Las Gaviotas as being nearby Puerto de la Cruz. Both are about 40 kilometres away.
First Choice wrote that Playa de la Arena is in the north of Tenerife and that Costa Adeje had fabulous views of Mount Teide…maybe if you were able to take a hot air balloon ride from the resort.
Lowcostholidays described Santa Ursula as a beach holiday location (anyone who believed that one is in for a serious shock).
Thomas Cook, winner of the biggest howler award due to the Murcia/Tenerife mix up, didn’t help their credibility much by describing Los Gigantes as having ‘a brace of inviting restaurants” ““ presumably all the other restaurants in the resort are uninviting.
EasyJet came out overall winners of getting it wrong by rolling out a load of statements that just defied belief. According to their website Puerto de la Cruz has golden sand beaches; you can take boats trips from Puerto de la Cruz to the other islands; there are ‘bushy paths, forested hills and extensive lowlands to explore when on holiday in Costa del Silencio’; You can visit the Palmetum in Santa Cruz (doesn’t exist) and Santa Cruz is also unusual because of the ‘streams, waterfalls and ponds to be seen around the city’. That would certainly be unusual if it were true.
Overall on the hit and miss evidence we saw our advice is to book your Tenerife holiday with the company that gives you the best deal…but do your research elsewhere online.