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Statement from Travel Technology Association President Steve Shur on Introduction of the Stop Online Booking Scams (SOBS) Act


Steve Shur on July 24, 2019

 Statement from Travel Technology Association President Steve Shur on Introduction of the Stop Online Booking Scams (SOBS) Act

  The SOBS Act is nothing more than a public relations stunt and an attempt by the big hotel brands to scare consumers away from comparison shopping.

 

WASHINGTON – Following the introduction of the Stop Online Booking Scams (SOBS) Act, Travel Technology Association’s President Steve Shur issued the following statement:

 

“The SOBS Act’s true purpose is to scare consumers into believing that it is somehow risky to book through online travel agencies (OTA), driving them directly to the hotels’ websites. The bill gives the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) broad new enforcement authority despite the commission stating in a 2017 report to Congress that it has all the tools it needs to go after unfair and deceptive practices in online hotel bookings.

 

“For several years, the hotel lobby has been allowed to make wild claims about consumer harm in the travel marketplace without a single shred of evidence. The claims are false and insult the millions of consumers who trust and visit OTAs every single day to help them make informed choices when booking their travel. OTAs such as Expedia and Booking.com have created and maintain a marketplace where suppliers must compete for consumers on price and service. The big hotel chains pushing this legislation only want you to book direct where you can’t comparison shop across brands, find great deals, book packages with air and car rental and see all of your options in one place, which is what online travel agents provide.

 

“We agree that Congress should take consumer protection in travel seriously, however, the SOBS Act is not the answer. Travel Tech opposes this completely unnecessary and baseless legislation, as it provides no consumer benefit and only serves the competitive interests of the hotel lobby that wants consumers to book direct.”

 

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The Travel Technology Association (Travel Tech) is the voice of the travel technology industry, advocating for public policy that promotes transparency and competition in the marketplace to encourage innovation and preserve consumer choice. We represent the leading innovators in travel technology, including global distribution systems, online travel agencies and metasearch companies, and short-term rental platforms.