Daines Hosts Roundtable in Billings to Protect Consumers from Online Booking Scams

U.S. Senator Steve Daines today hosted a roundtable discussion with the leaders of the Montana Lodging & Hospitality Association (MLHA) on growing Montana’s tourism industry and protecting consumers from online booking scams.

Daines sought to raise awareness and crack down on operators of that trick consumers into thinking they are making reservations directly with hotels. On September 27, Daines introduced bipartisan legislation to address this problem and protect consumers from online booking scams.  

According to the University of Montana Institute for Tourism & Recreation Research, in 2014, tourists spent $3.98 billion and which helped support more than 55,000 jobs.

“Tourism is an important part of our state’s economy and we must ensure folks have the tools they need to keep Montana’s businesses in business,” Daines stated. “I want to make sure that when folks come to Montana they know why we are the Treasure State – not only because of our vast public lands, but because of the people who live and work here.”

billings roundtable

Daines receives a first-hand demonstration of how a third party booking website can mislead Montana tourists and travelers.

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Steve Wahrlich, Chair of the Montana Lodging & Hospitality Association and owner of the Best Western Plus ClockTower Inn in Billings: “The lodging industry is a major player in Montana’s economy – responsible for providing $135 million in tax revenue and supporting nearly $700 million in total sales throughout the state. Unscrupulous actors that seek to take advantage of unsuspecting travelers jeopardize that. We are grateful to Senator Daines for recognizing this growing threat and introducing the Stop Online Booking Scams Act with his colleague Senator Nelson. We look forward to working with them to protect Montana travelers by moving this commonsense legislation through the legislative process.”

Maryam Cope, American Hotel & Lodging Association’s Vice President of Government Affairs: “Consumers should always have the utmost confidence in the online booking process from start to finish and they should feel safe and protected when booking travel online. We applaud Senator Daines for his leadership in introducing bipartisan legislation that sends a clear message this kind of deceptive behavior will not be tolerated. As the digital marketplace continues to grow and evolve, consumers in Montana and across the country deserve transparency, and every minute we wait to pass this legislation, more people fall victim to these deceptive practices.”

billings roundtable formal

MHLA Chair Steve Wahrlich, MLHA Executive Director Stuart Doggett, U.S. Senator Steve Daines, Voices of Montana Tourism Director Dax Schieffer ( from left to right).

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