There is, of course, no widely agreed definition of Service Oriented Architecture – I know this to be true because I read it on the Web. However most people might agree, if they happened to be chilled out and mellow at the time, that, as my Web source (Wikipedia as it happens) continues “Service-orientation describes an …
Those tempting extras
Overcharging for an extra is a way for many companies in the service industry to make easy money, they all do it!
An end product/service will always suffer; become tainted, when the provider gets greedy.
I too have used Expedia in the past and found my first experience to be fruitful, but subsequent sessions less so. I found I became a little more suspicious and the returned results less gainful. Trust of a online service is crucial and we would like to believe the service provider has focussed on providing an efficient service, at all levels.
I, too had some service problems with Expedia, which may hint that business processes are tricky things.
I ordered a hotel in Vienna, Austria in the last minute (~24h before my arrival). When showing up at the hotel, they had no room for me. They claimed that they got the invitation from Expedia, and faxed them back a "no-room-available" response (I think they also showed me this fax).
Problem #1: You may want a reliable online reservation system if you deal with online reservations.
Problem #2: If #1 is not true, you better take out-of-band faxes seriously (such as, say, letting the customer know about it?), and handle offline confirmations.
The next funny thing was a 1-hour international call from the hotel (that kindly allowed me to use their phone) to Expedia's support center, somewhere in the US. For some reason I thought they would find me an alternative. I spent some wonderful time with various representatives, who didn't know that "Wien" is not a drink, but rather a city, in a country named "Austria". They were unable to see that the "Vienna woods" are quite wonderful, but rather distant from the Vienna convention center. And so forth - they seemed unable to perform some basic things that I would expect from a "super travel agency".
Problem #3: You need a decent knowledge system (computerized, human or both) that can back you up if something goes wrong.
End of story - the local hotel was able to find me a 1* alternative (the city was fully booked), using state-of-the-art technology (phone call to nearby hotels, the list was on the front desk). Expedia were so kind to cancel my booking and give me voucher compensation.