With most consumers searching at least seven to 10 websites before booking a reservation, as well as elevated traffic on hotel and travel websites, it’s become more common for rogue third-party online booking sites to find ways to piggy-back on legitimate hotels. These rogue sites trick consumers by mirroring the look and feel of the actual hotel website, using copyrighted images, trademarked logos, and many times, even similar URLs, to take consumers for a ride. Fortunately for consumers, members of Congress have taken notice—some of whom have even fallen victims of online booking scams themselves—and a bipartisan group of congressional leaders are taking action to ensure enhanced consumer protection when booking travel online. Last month, U.S. Sens. Steve Daines (R-Mont.) and Bill Nelson (D-Fla.) introduced the Stop Online Booking Scams Act, a bill that would effectively combat these deceptive practices and hold unscrupulous actors accountable. The legislation, which was originally introduced in the House in February by Reps. Lois Frankel (D-Fla.) and Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-Fla.), would provide vital safeguards and take necessary corrective action to stop scammers from mimicking legitimate websites and exploiting unassuming consumers. Third-party booking sites would be required to have continuous, prominent notification that their websites are not associated with a specific hotel’s website before any consumer’s credit card is charged, making it crystal clear to consumers who they are doing business with online. Get the full story at Lodging