Booking a hotel has become an increasingly convoluted process for travelers, especially in a world where technology has enabled booking sites to offer a myriad of options and rates for the same room.
A traveler going on a business trip, for instance, may decide to conduct a quick Google search to see the best rate that they can find for their preferred property. When doing so, low rates from third-party sites such as Expedia, Trivago, and others pop up on the screen. While these rates may possibly appear lower than those found via the traveler’s preferred booking tool, they do not include the rate guarantees and protections offered to travelers booking CWTSatoTravel Hotel Program rates or FedRooms rates. This means that the third-party rate is often more expensive and restrictive than the rate the traveler would find by booking the rate offered by their travel management company (TMC).
New research from Morning Consult and Kalibri Labs suggests that online booking scams in conjunction with fraudulent and misleading travel websites continue to mislead and confuse consumers.
A recent survey commissioned by the American Hotel and Lodge Association found that 23 percent of consumers report being misled in some way by third-party booking sites, translating to more than $5.7 billion in online booking scams. The Better Business Bureau reports, “some 55 million online hotel bookings are affected by fraudulent websites and call centers posing as hotel websites.”
According to a Consumer Reports national survey of more than 2,000 adults in 2018, more than one third of people said they experienced a hidden hotel fee in the past two years.
The best way to avoid these add-on fees is to book protected rates like CWTSatoTravel Hotel Program and FedRooms and ensure that the rate you see is the rate you will pay.