CONSUMER TIPS

Some booking sites will go so far as to use the hotel’s brand name in the URL. Take an extra minute to make sure you’re on the real hotel’s booking site. Always check the URL address. Although the hotel name may be part of the URL, double check the website address to ensure it’s not a third-party vendor using a hotel’s identity without permission. These misleading sites frequently pop up at or near the top of search rankings. Make sure you know who you’re giving your information to.

LOOK BEFORE YOU BOOK

Sign up for loyalty programs at your favorite hotels. They’re free and offer amazing benefits – and they’re only getting better, as hotels continue to introduce new perks to their programs. Always book directly with the hotel to make sure you’re getting your points.

TAKE ADVANTAGE OF LOYALTY PROGRAMS

This can help ensure you get what you want and need from your reservation and often provides the better value.

BOOK DIRECTLY WITH THE HOTEL OR A TRUSTED TRAVEL AGENT

Online travel agencies use false advertising tactics to pressure people into purchasing a room. These include offering false discounts (“Special Rate!”) and creating a false sense of urgency (“Only 3 Rooms Left!” “211 Other People Are Looking At This Room!”). These are misleading claims. It’s important to note that most hotels will offer a best price guarantee when you book directly.

BE AWARE OF FALSE ADVERTSING

Before providing your credit card information, check the following:

  • What is the cancellation/trip change policy?

  • Is it a secure payment site? The URL should have a small lock and should start with https:// as opposed to just http://.

  • Is the site, in any way, affiliated with the hotel?

ASK THE RIGHT QUESTIONS