With the first day of summer on the horizon, you may be thinking about booking your next getaway. Whether you decide to sit on the sand or breathe in fresh mountain air, choosing your accommodations is a vital part of your vacation planning. The more traditional traveler may choose to stay in a hotel, while others may book unique properties on sites such as AirBnB or HomeAway.* No matter your preference, BBB is here to help you make the smartest booking decisions. Fraudulent bookings cost Americans $3.9 billion dollars a year according to the American Hotel and Lodging Association. However, you don’t have to be a part of that statistic! Consider these BBB tips when booking your hotel room or vacation rental.
Not only does planning ahead reduce last-minute stress, it also allows you to get a great deal. Booking in advance often means lower prices across various sites and more availability, increasing the likelihood you’ll get a great deal on your preferred accommodation.
Be wary of too-good-to-be-true prices
Making your vacation affordable may be high on your priority list, but this could leave you vulnerable to being scammed. Good deals on a hotel or vacation rental can be legitimate, but if the price is significantly lower than everything else on the market, it is likely a scam.
Be cautious online
Not everything online is as it seems and posting deceptive listings is far too common. Often, the hotel room or vacation rental shown in the picture is a property that is non-existent or different than pictured. It’s always best to make your reservation from the source or reputable third-party sites, however, even these websites are vulnerable to fake listings until they’re reported by victims. So, what can you look for to spot these phony listings?
- Read Reviews. Fake listings often have little information or feedback about them, so stick with options that have great ratings and a significant number of reviews.
- Look at the pictures. Check for inconsistencies in the photos, including camera angles and repeated furniture. Hotels or vacation rental owners may be deceptive about the size of the space or the amount of furniture inside.
- Read the payment and refund policy. Always make sure you read the fine print and understand all the terms of making your reservation. Ensure you take note of when your card will be charged and if the booking is refundable.
Pay with a credit card
What’s the safest way to pay? As a rule of thumb, never wire money or use a prepaid debit card. Paying with a credit card ensures you aren’t out of money from your own pocket.
Confirm your reservation
If you’re having difficulty reaching the hotel or property owner, it may be a scam. Try getting in touch and verifying your reservation ahead of your planned arrival to avoid panic during your vacation.
And remember, you can always visit BBB.org to check out the business’ rating and customer reviews.
*As a matter of policy, BBB does not endorse any product, service or business.