Hotel Room Swap

How the scam works:

Many people are reducing the amount of travel they do requiring overnight stay because of the exorbitant cost of lodging.

However, online travel sites have made getting a nice hotel room for a cheap motel price easier than ever. But some of these cheap rates come with an unexpected price tag; a shabby room nothing like the one in the picture you were shown when booking.

This travel scam involves travel sites showing luxurious hotel room pictures on their site (for exotic destinations like Thailand or the Philippines), while in reality you are booking a room in a dive hotel where the largest occupants are usually the cockroaches. This scam also takes an additional turn by booking you into a room at a nice hotel, but upon your arrival you are informed that the hotel is full and they will direct you to an “additional accommodation down the street”.

The additional accommodation is usually a hotel whose rooms are not even renting for the “lower” price you paid to stay at the nicer hotel. This happens when hotels overbook and enter into agreements with other hotels in the vicinity, usually much more sub-standard than the original hotel.

How to avoid:

When booking hotel rooms online, it is imperative that you do your homework. Before booking any room, check out travel sites that offer customer reviews of hotels. Reader reviews are often the best gauge of whether a hotel will meet your standards of quality. If you arrive at a hotel and are told you must take a room at a different hotel because of overbooking, refuse the accommodation and ask to speak to the manager. Often you can use your proof of a booking deposit or advance payment to negotiate a reduced price if there is no other alternative but to stay at the other accommodations.

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