With nearly one third of all travel spending being done through online channels, Katherine Lugar, president and CEO of AH&LA, took to The Hill newspaper to stress the need to protect consumers from the “scams, rogue vendors, false advertising and consumer abuses” that run rampant in the marketplace. In her op-ed, Lugar mentions several ways in which third parties con the average consumer, such as posing as an actual hotel website by using a similar URL or a false phone number, which can be extra difficult to detect when booking through a mobile device.
Lugar says hotel industry leaders have gathered on Capitol Hill to discuss how the FTC and Congress can implement protection against these unfair practices, which have cost American consumers an upwards of $228 million a year. She suggests the FTC should use its jurisdiction to investigate deceptive advertising that harms consumers. Before the government takes action, Lugar notes that consumers can protect themselves by booking directly from the hotel, instead of through a third party.