$1.3bn Lost To Bad Online Booking – AHLA | Independent Newspapers Limited
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$1.3bn Lost To Bad Online Booking – AHLA

Posted: May 4, 2016 at 2:59 am   /   by   /   comments (0)

Oyeniran Apata, Lagos The American Hotel and Lodging Association (AHLA) has estimated close to 15 million bookings are scam while about $1.3bn has been lost to as a result of bad booking.
As online booking is yet to take a sound footing among hoteliers in Lagos State and Nigeria in general the comfort provided by the various websites of hotels for booking of accommodation obviously has saved a lot of time and made the exercise relatively easy.
Online hotel booking is one of the latest techniques in the arena of internet that allows travelers to book a hotel located anywhere in the world and that too according to your tastes and preferences.

In other words, online hotel booking is one of the awesome facilities of the internet. Booking a hotel online is not only fast as well as convenient but also very cheap. Nowadays, many of the hotel providers have their sites on the web, which in turn allows the users to visit these sites and view the facilities and amenities offered by each of them. The benefits offered by online hotel booking is endless. Foremost is that it enables you to compare and choose a hotel in a desired location and that too according to your requirements. Since many of the hotel websites furnishes information along with ratings as well as exterior and interior pictures of the hotel, it helps users to get a clear idea of hotel, prior to its booking.

In hotel websites, they not only provide business details, but also a concise information on the place as well as its appeals. This in turn allows prospective lodgers to get an idea of the place they are going to stay. Another breathtaking benefit of booking a hotel online is that it helps you to compare rates. Majority of the hotels across the globe provides details on both regular rates and specials. This feature enables you to book the right hotel with facilities and amenities you require at a rate you can live with.

Apart from these specials, booking hotels online in advance can fetch you more discounts. You can save much more, if your business or vacation plan is flexible enough to match with some particular dates that offer discounted rates. However, as easy as the platform appears to be it has been estimated that about 15 million booking are scams.

Booking hotels online is quite easy. All you have to do with regard to booking online is to search for hotels in your desired location, in top search engines such as Google or Yahoo. Then, thousands of results will be displayed. Select one among them that goes with your requirements.
Once you chosen a hotel of your taste, inform them regarding your requirements and which type of room you are looking for. In addition to accommodation, some hotels may provide packages inclusive of transportation within the place, sightseeing, dining, and opportunities to enjoy a variety of recreational activities.

It is evident from the aforesaid discussion that online hotel booking provides substantial benefits. But, it is important to make a thorough investigation before choosing an online hotel booking facility. There are an estimated 480 online hotel bookings per minute. While the ability to book online is a great convenience, there are some serious concerns that consumers should be aware of when booking online.
However, lodgers have been warned to beware mushrooming problem of “affiliates” or rogue vendors using false advertising and other scams to trick consumers into thinking they are booking directly with the hotel. As more and more consumers book online, a victim of such scam in Nigeria, Mrs. Maureen Ekpe, warned consumers from getting tripped up by dubious hotel booking sites.

Ekpe told Independent that she was tripped on two occasions, one in Lagos and the second in Plateau State where the scammers made her lose huge sums of money. According to her : “I booked for the accommodation shortly after arrival at the Murtala Mohammed Airport. In no time we drove in the hired cab to the supposed hotel suites. The young man collected my details and since I was skeptical about releasing my card details to strangers, I chose to give the man some cash with me.

After waiting for some minutes, he came with some forms for me to fill and capture some personal details. For the little headache I had he collected cash from and went into the hotel and never came back. I discovered to my chagrin that he must have disappeared through the back door.
Aare Francis Odunuga, President, Lagos Hoteliers Association and Managing Director, Grand Joy Hotels, Lagos told Independent that only very few members of the association are keyed into the online booking of accommodation.

He added that apart from being expensive to sustain, members engage in person to person and contact and referrals in marketing of their business than online, saying that his association would not want members to be caught in the web of questionable characters who will dupe unsuspecting lodgers. In the United States Of America, Congress is also taking action. A bipartisan group of congressional leaders introduced the Stop Online Booking Scams Act to help protect consumers from booking scams and directs the Federal Trade Commission to investigate this growing problem.
The legislation makes it easier for consumers to tell the difference between the actual hotel website and fraudulent ones masquerading as name brand sites. It requires third-party hotel booking websites to clearly disclose that they are not affiliated with the hotel for which the traveler is ultimately making the reservation.