Hoteliers have been urged to take extra care when verifying bookings following a rise in fake reservations being made through the Booking.com website.
The Hospitality Professionals Association (HOSPA) has issued a warning to its members over the ongoing issue.
It said the bookings were typically short-lead, high-value reservations that were made with an invalid credit card and resulted in a no-show. As hotels were unable to charge the card used, it resulted in a loss of revenue.
Booking.com said the issue had arisen after it ran a test offering travel credits to people booking hotels that participate in its Preferred Program, which gives hotels greater visibility in the site's search results.
A statement from Booking.com said: "During this test, we detected an increase in fraudulent reservations that impacted some of our partners.
"The test has been halted and additional fraud prevention measures are now in place across the Preferred Plus Program.
"We have also made adaptations to the process for the existing travel credit offer, such as excluding same-day bookings. Thanks to these efforts, we have seen a significant reduction in fraudulent reservations."
The company added that it took online security "very seriously" and its policy was to support any hotels affected by fraud in a "timely and transparent manner".
HOSPA chief executive Jane Pendlebury said: "Our advice to hoteliers is to follow your processes properly and make sure you reconcile commission claims against actual arrival/stay data, and exercise caution when verifying bookings – particularly those with short lead times and significant values.
"Thoroughly examining credit card details and carefully comparing commission claims with actual arrival and stay data will help mitigate any potential impact of fraudulent activity.
"I know Booking.com is taking a proactive approach in addressing the issue and [is] working hard to counteract any potential for fraud, but hoteliers need to be vigilant too and keep an eye out for any suspicious activity."
Image: Casimiro PT / Shutterstock
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