Have any summer vacation plans? We started planning in January and are just days away from our “ultimate” family vacation. It will be the first trip with all eight of us in over three years! Needless to say, we’re pretty excited.
Booking Travel Online
This will also be our first trip, as a family, to travel internationally. We have everyone’s passports, have purchased new vacation clothes, and are beginning to check things off our to-do lists. But, crazy as it sounds, our accommodations just came through last week. We’ve had airline tickets since January, but booking a place for all eight of us was not an easy task.
Our large family size automatically throws us into the “group” bracket when traveling; which is fine. But, considering we’re traveling overseas, we wanted to make sure we were staying somewhere that we would be safe. Not to mention, we’ve all heard online booking horror stories, so we also had to ensure we were not getting scammed.
In a new survey commissioned by from the American Hotel & Lodging Association (AHLA), in partnership with Morning Consult, 23% of consumers report being misled by third-party traveler resellers on the phone or online – translating to 28.5 million hotel stays and $5.2 billion in fraudulent and misleading hotel booking transactions in 2017.
In fact, I remember reading a post about how a couple was almost scammed through a site that very closely mimicked a well-known home sharing website. After doing all of the initial communication through the legitimate site, the “owner” sent them a very similar link to finish the transaction. Upon a closer look, the couple realized it wasn’t the same website. Because of their frequent travels, they were quickly able to spot the differences. To an untrained eye, the nuances could have easily gone unnoticed. And often do.
With 39% of travelers reporting that they most often book their hotel rooms through a third-party website, AHLA urges consumers to be cautious when booking travel.
Those surveyed who had been misled by third-party traveler resellers discovered that they were charged extra fees on their credit card; had their reservation lost and had to book another room, losing the cost of their original reservation; or made a special room request that was not relayed to the hotel.
How can you be search smarter when booking travel online?
AHLA is encouraging consumers to Avoid Shady Deals and Have a Sunny Stay by searching smarter for their hotel stays through the launch of their summer “Search Smarter” education and awareness campaign. The program encourages consumers to book directly through the hotel website or mobile app. In addition to helping consumers avoid scams, direct booking often results in the best deal and more travel perks and benefits.
AHLA is a national partner of the Better Business Bureau (BBB), which offers a tips page to educate consumers on how to avoid costly and painful scams when booking hotels online.