AH&LA educates lawmakers and consumers about deceptive online booking practices.
(May 27, 2015) Online travel bookings have grown rapidly over the past several years and now make up 30 percent of all online sales. Unfortunately, fraudulent travel booking websites are also booming.
Rogue sites are tricking consumers into thinking they are booking directly with a hotel, when in fact they may be stealing credit card information or making promises about types of rooms or reward benefits without the hotel’s knowledge.
The American Hotel & Lodging Association (AH&LA) has been working to shed light on the deceptive practices of some third party online travel company affiliates. Its aggressive media campaign and outreach on Capitol Hill is bringing results.
In March, AH&LA launched its campaign with a well-attended panel on Capitol Hill to begin to educate Members of Congress and their staff about these misleading practices that trick consumers into thinking they are booking directly with a hotel. These efforts recently led Senator Grassley, Chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee, to send a letter to the Chairwoman of the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), asking about the Commission’s work on deceptive hotel booking sites. Since the Judiciary Committee has some jurisdiction over the FTC, the Chairman’s letter underscores the urgent need for action by that body.
AH&LA’s media efforts have also been productive, generating more than 80 million media impressions. The latest news stories include a recent news segment on CBS This Morning by consumer advocate Peter Greenberg, a news story by KGO San Francisco, a Yahoo Travel video story, a column by known consumer watchdog Christopher Elliot in the Washington Post, and articles in the Los Angeles Times and by Mainstreet.com.