AHLA supports the introduction of bipartisan legislation protecting consumers from online booking scams
The American Hotel & Lodging Association (AHLA) congratulated Representatives Peter Welch (D-VT), Gus Bilirakis (R-FL) and Lois Frankel (D-FL) for presenting the Stop the online booking scam law. This bill aims to protect millions of travelers by ending the harmful business practices of third-party hotel booking sites.
The Stop Online Booking Scams Act cracks down on fraudulent and deceptive hotel booking transactions that negatively impacted 28.5 million hotel stays and cost consumers $5.2 billion in 2017 alone. Deceptive third-party websites give the impression of being actually owned or affiliated with the hotel, when they are not. The bill prohibits third-party online hotel reservation sellers who are not affiliated with the hotel from advertising, promoting, or selling a reservation if they state or imply that they are the true owner. or operator of a hotel. This law is also a companion bill to legislation introduced by Senators Steve Daines (R-MT) and Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) earlier this week, and gives enforcement power to the Federal Trade Commission and state attorneys general for entities that fail to comply with the law.
“Deceptive websites, online advertisements and search engines trick consumers into thinking they are booking their travel directly through a hotel’s website or call center, when it is not there is no relationship. 94% of consumers say they want to know who they are doing business with when booking a hotel room online,” said Chip Rogers, president and CEO of the American Hotel & Lodging Association. “The Stop Online Booking Scams Act sends a clear message that this type of deceptive behavior will not be tolerated. We thank United States Representatives Peter Welch, Gus Bilirakis and Lois Frankel for their leadership on this critical issue and encourage their colleagues to join them in protecting consumers across the country from unscrupulous actors by passing this bill.
“At Basin Harbor Resort in Vermont, we welcome guests who have traveled far and wide. Ensuring their satisfaction is paramount to our property and our industry. It is important to educate and protect these customers when searching for hotel rooms online and to make sure they know who they are dealing with. noted pennies beach, owner of the Basin Harbor Resort and Boat Club in Vergennes, Vermont. “I am grateful to Rep. Welch for his continued leadership and for introducing this important legislation, which protects guests as they travel to my property and across the state of Vermont.”
“Florida thrives on the tourism industry, and we simply can’t afford to have people mislead via third-party booking sites. Too often, customers who make hotel reservations through third-party web arrive at one of our properties to find they have fraudulent or inaccurate reservations,” said Keith Overton, president and chief operating officer of TradeWinds Island Resorts based in St. Pete Beach, Florida. “I traveled to Washington and discussed this issue with our congressional delegation. I am truly grateful that Rep Bilirakis listened to my concerns and introduced the Stop Online Booking Scams Act and strongly encourage the entire Florida delegation to join the fight.
“Deceptive third-party websites pretend to be affiliated with a genuine hotel property. They deceive travelers, who often arrive at the check-in counter to find that their reservation was transmitted inaccurately or was never even reserved,” said Carol Dover, President and CEO, Florida Restaurant & Lodging Association. “This is a significant and growing problem that needs to be addressed. I thank Rep. Frankel for introducing The Stop Online Booking Scams Act, which will provide federal and state authorities with the tools to help protect travelers.