AHLA’s Search Smarter Campaign Combats Deceptive Marketing Practices

online booking scamsGuest satisfaction is a core metric of the hotel industry’s success, but sometimes a guest’s experience can be negatively impacted before their vacation even begins. That’s why the American Hotel & Lodging Association (AHLA) launched the Search Smarter campaign—a way to educate consumers on how to book smart and book direct. This consumer initiative is designed to shine a light on misleading and deceptive online marketing practices that can confuse or deceive the traveler and ultimately lead to lost or incorrect reservations, booking errors, and additional fees and charges.

AHLA isn’t the only one hearing these unfortunate stories of guests showing up at the check-in desk only to learn they have fraudulent or incorrect reservations; Congress is, too. In July, members of both the U.S. Senate and the U.S. House of Representatives introduced the Stop Online Booking Scams Act. This important legislation, which would crack down on websites that pose as hotels to prey on travelers, is being led by Senators Steve Daines (R-Mont.) and Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), and Representatives Peter Welch (D-Vt.), Gus Bilirakis (R-Fla.), and Lois Frankel (D-Fla.).

With so many ways to book a reservation, it’s more important than ever to make sure consumers understand how to search smarter and make the best decisions throughout the hotel booking process. AHLA will continue to provide travel booking tips, and will also be advocating for Congressional passage of the Stop Online Booking Scams Act. Together, both efforts will heighten consumer protections and ensure guest satisfaction.

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Amy Travieso is vice president of government affairs at AHLA.