Every day, deceptive websites, online ads, and search engines mislead thousands of consumers into believing they are booking directly with a hotel’s website or call center, when in fact they have no relation. A survey commissioned by AHLA in 2018 found that 23 percent of consumers report being misled by third-party travel resellers on the phone or online. That translates into 28.5 million hotel stays and $5.2 billion in fraudulent and misleading hotel booking transactions in 2017 alone, resulting in extra fees, incorrect accommodations and even lost reservations.
In December 2017, the Federal Trade Commission announced a settlement with Reservation Counter, LLC, a third-party travel reseller, for charges that they misled consumers through deceptive online marketing and call center practices. The FTC’s action set an important precedent about the need for transparency in the online booking process