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Summer Travel Season Kicks Off with a Warning about Online Hotel Booking Scams

31 May 2016   Laura Cherry

Summer Travel Season Kicks Off with a Warning about Online Hotel Booking Scams

In 2015 close to 15 million hotel reservations were made on deceptive websites.

PHOENIX-May 26, 2016 – Today the Arizona Lodging and Tourism Association (AzLTA) launched a campaign to work with hotels and resorts across the state to help consumers take action if they fall victim to deceptive online hotel booking websites and call centers. Many of these websites can appear in the sponsored section of Google searches and use deceptive URLs and pirated pictures to trick consumers into thinking they’re booking with an actual hotel.

“Our company owns and manages five franchise hotels in Northern Arizona,” said Margo Christensen, VP of Marketing and Public Relations for Ponderosa Hotel Management Services. “We are very aware of and concerned about the increase in fraudulent websites that have our hotels listed with rates, terms and conditions that don’t match with our hotels. What is most troubling is that our guests can be fooled into booking on these sites and then discover that we don’t have their reservation or they have paid extra fees.” 

Communicating with hotels and resorts across the state, AzLTA is working in partnership with the American Hotel and Lodging Association to provide hoteliers with resources and information they can use to help guests who have fallen victim to these online hotel booking scams. 

“As the lead advocate for the travel industry in Arizona, it is critical we work with hoteliers to educate travelers about these scams” said Kim Sabow, president and CEO of AzLTA.  “We are arming our hotel and lodging members with actionable steps to take should they become victims.”

Hotel guests impacted by these deceptive websites will need to contact the Arizona Attorney General’s Office – Consumer Protection Section. In Arizona, the Consumer Protection Section does not accept complaints submitted by a business against another business.  The office only accepts complaints from individual consumers. Arizona allows for electronic filing of complaints.  Instructions for submitting a complaint may be found by clicking here. 

See the infographic on the scope of online booking scams and how the Stop Online Booking Scams Act can help.