Published on : Saturday, September 10, 2016
The American Hotel & Lodging Association (AH&LA) today commended Senators Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) and Deb Fischer (R-NE) on their leadership in urging government agencies to protect consumers from deceptive online booking practices.
The Senators sent a bipartisan letter to U.S. Department of Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx and U.S. Federal Trade Commission Chairwoman Edith Ramirez requesting both agencies to investigate reported incidents of alleged fraudulent, unfair, and deceptive practices in the online travel and tourism marketplace.
“With five million guests checking into hotels each day and some 300 online hotel bookings transacted every minute, it is particularly important to ensure transparency and clarity in the ever-growing online travel marketplace,” said Katherine Lugar, president and CEO of AH&LA. “We applaud the steadfast leadership of Senators Klobuchar and Fischer for putting consumers first and recognizing the need to stop misleading or fraudulent marketing tactics that harm consumers. We echo their concerns and hope that the Department of Transportation and the Federal Trade Commission will swiftly investigate these reports and respond with appropriate guidelines, recommendations or, if necessary, regulatory action.”
AH&LA research shows an increasing number of consumers are misled into making hotel reservations through fraudulent websites, call centers and mobile websites that give the appearance of being a hotel’s website, but actually have no relation to the hotel. Some 15 million bookings each year are impacted by these scams, which translates to consumers being tricked into $1.3 billion in bad bookings last year.
These issues can result in wholly lost reservations, incorrect accommodations, incorrect services guests often need, such as disability access, the wrong set of amenities, lost loyalty benefits, and clear consumer confusion.