David Whitley started a good natter on his blog and Twitter after losing patience with loose definitions of 'budget hotel' in the media.
Why does it happen? Lazy writers, subs and editors are in the picture, but we also have to factor in the readership a mag/paper/site is targeting - as Jeremy Head pointed out in a comment.
For the Sunday Times, from which David selects an example, that audience is affluent.
The Times media site says:
The Sunday Times has a higher number and concentration of ABC1 (88%) and AB (62%) readers than any other Sunday newspaper
The readers the ST wants to attract, and which its advertisers want to reach, have a different angle on 'budget'.
Likewise, a real budget traveller is going to go straight to a hostelbookers search and ignore the Sunday Times outright.
So far so good, but we're still in Printland. Our feature is only being read by Sunday Times buyers, who, having handed over their £2, presumably know what to expect.
But glossy print products no longer exist in cosy isolation - they port their content to the web. Now our feature is available out of context to a virtually limitless audience, which makes promising 'budget' far more problematic.
So what are the options?
1. Tailor article content to a wider audience
I.e.: Select some different hotels for the web version of your feature.
Drawback: High-spending advertisers may perceive you to be moving downmarket, and take their online spend elsewhere.
2. Carry on as you are
I.e.: Just keep porting, and be glad of the search traffic coming in from 'budget hotel' searches.
Drawback: New readers coming in from search won't stick around; you risk bad PR as people mock you on blogs and forums.
3. Use anti-SEO
I.e.: Keep the feature as it is for print, but cut back on misleading (and high search volume) words like 'budget' for the online version.
Drawback: Requires honesty. And you won't get the short-lived traffic fix you'd get from carrying on as normal.