Hotel industry says discount site customers have more complaints

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By NewsRadio 1120 KMOX

WASHINGTON D.C. (KMOX) — The hotel industry is now saying the best way to book a room is direct through them — skip past the discount sites.

American Hotel and Lodging Association President Chip Rogers says an industry-funded study found about a quarter of travelers felt misled after booking through an outside site.

"I want to be clear about that," Rogers explained. "'Misled' means you looked online, saw a hotel room, got there and it looked nothing like it, you didn't get what you thought you were paying for ... all the way to the other extreme ... you actually booked and paid for a hotel room, and you show up and they don't have anything for you."

For years, Priceline, Expedia, and their corporate siblings helped boost hotels by funneling new travelers their way in exchange for a finder's fee.

Rogers was asked on Total Information AM if the campaign is, in part, an effort to share less revenue with what he calls "digital middlemen."

"From our perspective, we want to make sure that when people are staying at a hotel that they're happy with that experience," he said. "We're in the experience business."

The Association's "Search Smarter" website allows disgruntled customers to submit their grievances. Rogers notes that only those who book direct earn loyalty points.

Expedia hasn't responded to our request for reaction.

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