AHLA, BBB TEAM UP TO FIGHT ONLINE HOTEL BOOKING SCAMS

Uniquely Positioned Partnership Equips Consumers with Tools to “Search Smarter”, Bad Bookings Impact 55 Million Travelers

Washington, D.C. – November 27, 2017 – The American Hotel & Lodging Association (AHLA) today announced a new partnership with the Better Business Bureau (BBB) to educate and protect consumers against online hotel booking scams, which have increasingly become more prevalent and are affecting millions of consumers who book hotels online.  Last year alone, 55 million bookings were made through websites travelers thought were the actual hotel’s website only to find out later they were a rogue third-party operator, resulting in nearly $4 billion in misleading bookings. 

Better Business Web Site Screen ShotThe partnership will include a dedicated tips page on the BBB website, social media campaigns, a podcast, infographic materials and blog posts all aimed to help consumers “search smarter” when booking travel online. Further, AHLA provides consumers with extensive information on the types of scams consumers can avoid on its website at ahla.com/searchsmarter.
 
“We are very excited to partner with the Better Business Bureau to provide travelers with the information and tools they need to avoid falling prey to these harmful practices,” said Katherine Lugar, President and CEO, AHLA. “As the ease of online booking facilitates more travel, consumers need to know how to spot rogue sites and make informed decisions to avoid bad bookings. It’s always safest to book directly with the hotel to ensure consumers get what they want and need out of their vacation or business travel experience.” 
 
The BBB has launched a tips page in conjunction with AHLA to educate consumers on how to avoid these costly and painful scams when booking their hotel online and encouraging consumers to Search Smarter as they make their travel arrangements online. Other elements of the partnership will be rolled out later in 2017 and the beginning of 2018. The tips page on the BBB website can be viewed here
 
“CBBB welcomes AHLA to our National Partner program and particularly as a partner in fighting scams,” said Beverly Baskin, president and CEO of the Council of Better Business Bureaus. “Our recent BBB Scam Risk Report found that travel scams are one of the riskiest scams for older consumers ages 55 and up, and for military consumers. Travel and vacation scam victims lose an average of $847, compared to $274 overall, so it’s a costly and concerning issue. We are pleased to partner with AHLA and its members to help educate consumers on the best ways to avoid travel scams.”

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About the American Hotel & Lodging Association
Serving the hospitality industry for more than a century, the American Hotel & Lodging Association (AH&LA) is the sole national association representing all segments of the 2 million-employee U.S. lodging industry, including hotel owners, REITs, chains, franchisees, management companies, independent properties, bed and breakfasts, state hotel associations, and industry suppliers. Headquartered in Washington, D.C., AH&LA provides focused advocacy, communications support, and educational resources for an industry of more than 53,000 properties generating $176 billion in annual sales from 5 million guestrooms.