Users Get Duped by Hotel Booking Sites

Hotel-website-scamLast week, I wrote about the false report that Bloomberg is acquiring Twitter. This week's news is about people believing they book a hotel online, but the reservation is through a fake site. 

According to the American Hotel & Lodging Association (AH&LA), 2.5 million bookings-$220 million-are going to rogue sites. Users who book through these sites may find that they don't have a reservation when they get to a hotel, they may be charged large fees, or they may get misinformation about rates or cancellation policies. 

The Better Business Bureau suggests that people double check URLs, don't believe logos (which are easily copied), and avoid deals that are "too good to be true."

An LA Times article reminds us to look for secure signs on a website when entering personal information such as a name for a reservation or a credit card number: "You'll know you are connected by https if you see a lock in the URL bar of your Web browser."

Image source from the AH&LA. 

Discussion Starters: 

  • What other advice would you have for people to assess whether a website is valid? Use the principles in Chapter 9 and your own ideas. 
  • Do you think a hotel has any responsibility for these rogue sites? Why or why not?