The Hill article New York City is preparing to launch a system to identify potential online bookers who are using a hotel to book a room.
The city is considering a program that would allow hotel bookers to be fined for booking through their hotel account.
Hotel Booking Solutions is looking to introduce a system that would require hotel bookings through hotels to be flagged by the company as suspicious, potentially triggering fines.
New York City officials announced the program at a briefing Wednesday, and the city is also working with the hotel industry on a similar system.
“We are looking at a system where a hotel will automatically flag any hotel book from a guest that it’s been booked through its account,” Council Member Brad Lander said.
While the city would not be able to issue fines for hotels that book through their own hotel account, hotels would be required to notify authorities of any potential suspicious bookings, the council member said.
In some instances, bookings may not even be suspicious because the person who booked through the hotel could be a customer who didn’t actually book through the same account, Lander added.
The city already has similar programs in place for bookings from restaurants and hotels, and other cities are looking to use the same system, said City Council Member Daniel Donovan, who introduced the bill.
In a separate report, The Hill said hotel booking systems have been used in several cities to identify bookings in the past.
According to The Hill, New York is one of the cities using hotel booking systems to identify and fine bookings for hotels.
Lander has asked the city to make it easier for hotels to flag potential bookings and to add the hotel system to the city’s code of conduct, which he said could save thousands of dollars and prevent thousands of complaints.
But some hotel owners and hotel operators are opposed to the idea, saying it could result in the city unfairly targeting hotels.
“It’s about giving a hotel a little bit more leeway,” said Stephen Smith, CEO of the hotel booking platform Booking.com.
Smith said booking through a hotel account has been used to book rooms in several other cities.
He said the city should start with the hotels that use it and then expand to all hotels and other booking platforms that use the hotel account to identify suspicious bookers.
“We can’t have the city go in and fine hotel owners who book through hotels,” Smith said.