Website helps make sure you get the getaway you pay for

Website helps make sure you get the getaway you pay for »Play Video
Before you even buy your plane tickets, vacations often begin with a brochure or website showing off beautiful pictures of your destination.

But what happens when you arrive, and reality isn't so beautiful?

Believe it or not, that happens. That's why experts recommend you look before you book and check out Oyster.com. The website not only warns things aren't always what they seem, but also proves it.

Oyster.com says it gets about 250,000 page views a month. And one common thread is the case of the shrinking swimming pool.

Those beauty shots are inviting, but if you zoom out of the photo, the pool is hardly there. So many pools are just plain teeny tiny. And cropping photos can hide the true size or hide the giant department store that towers next door.

"This is a product you can't see before you buy and can't return once you buy," said Oyster.com CEO Elie Seidman. "Our mission is to bring truth so you can see exactly what you can see what you're going to get before you go. No false ad here."

Oyster.com launched about a year and a half ago, and got travelers' attention with their reviews and fake-out photos. This year, it added a hotel booking feature.

Seidman insists his site is reliable because he sends people undercover, like Jennifer Garfinkel, to check for fake-outs.

"If there is a source where you can get the truth, the real pictures, why not use it instead?" said Garfinkel.

A team of undercover journalist randomly book hotel rooms, document what they find and then compare their shots with the hotel's online photos. We noticed in small print, some hotels warn their pictures are only a representation of their accommodations.

No detail is too insignificant. Garfinkel gets every angle -- all corners of the room and lots of closeups. She even snapped shots of a pencil can, and peeled back the bed covers.

"We certainly take things like the TV, the mini bar -- the thing that people really, really care about. That's the most important," she said.

Garfinkel insists it's all real, with no doctoring of photos.

Some hotel websites do include disclaimers in fine print that say the online photos are not an exact replication of the rooms and accommodations, but not all.

"This is a vacation. It's your precious time and your money. You want to go some place that's not only good, but great," said Seidman. "And
what we personally experience was that sometimes you go away and when you get there it's not exactly what you saw on the brochures."

Oyster.com has reviewed about 1,000 hotels. The site also tell you what's good about a hotel, too. The site insists what you see on Oyster.com is what you really get.