Hoteliers can share the following tips with guests to help them avoid fraudulent booking practices.
1. Look before you book.
Some of these booking sites will go so far as to use the hotel’s brand name in the URL. Take an extra minute to make sure you’re on the hotel’s real booking site. Although the hotel name may be part of the URL, double check the website address to ensure it’s not a third-party vendor stealing a hotel’s identity.
2. Take advantage of loyalty programs.
Sign up for loyalty programs at your favorite hotels. They’re free and offer amazing benefits. And they’re only getting better, as hotels continue to introduce new perks to their programs. Always book directly with the hotel to make sure you’re getting your points.
3. Ask the right questions.
Call the hotel directly when booking to ask questions that ensure you protect your personal information. These questions include: “What is the cancellation/trip change policy?”; “Is it a secure payment site?”; and “Is the site, in any way, affiliated with the hotel?”
4. Book direct.
Book with the hotel or a trusted travel agent to ensure you get what you want and need from your reservation. It also often provides the better value.
Maryam Cope is vice president for government affairs for AHLA.