Bill’s Safe Harbor Provision is Essential for Pro-Consumer Price Comparison Sites
On Wednesday, November 1st, the House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Innovation, Data, and Commerce held a markup on the No Hidden FEES Act of 2023. The Act will require – for the first time ever in federal law – consumers are shown the total price for a hotel room (including rate and all mandatory fees) wherever hotel pricing is available. Under this legislation, the total price must be “transparent to and easily understood by the consumer.”
Travel Tech and its members continue to engage on this important legislation, working with subcommittee staff to incorporate a safe harbor provision similar to those used in many states for sales and occupancy tax collection.
Laura Chadwick, President and CEO of Travel Tech said: “Providing transparent and competitive pricing to consumers is central to price comparison websites’ business models. The safe harbor language ensures that hotels must share their resort fees not only on their own websites but on price comparison sites too.”
“Without a safe harbor, price comparison sites would have to engage in costly, time-intensive investigations and contract dispute litigation with the tens of thousands of hotels providing their rates and taxes – but not their mandatory fees – to these sites,” Chadwick added. “Doing so will detract from price comparison sites’ core purpose: providing a transparent and competitive marketplace for consumers to find and book their travel.”
Multiple states have identical safe harbor laws for sales and/or occupancy tax collection. In these cases, if sellers fail to provide accurate tax information to price comparison sites, the sellers are ultimately responsible – not the marketplace. The same should follow on the federal level if a hotel provides inaccurate resort fees to a travel marketplace.
The Travel Technology Association (Travel Tech) empowers traveler choice by advocating for public policy that promotes marketplace transparency and competition. Travel Tech represents the leading innovators in travel technology, including online travel agencies, metasearch engines, short-term rental platforms, global distribution systems, and travel management companies.
To schedule an interview with a Travel Tech spokesperson, contact Bradford Williamson of Glen Echo Group at 202.870.3234 or email@example.com.