Skift - April 19, 2013
BY DENNIS SCHAAL, SKIFT
APR 19, 2013 11:50 AM
Major online travel agencies, including Expedia, Priceline, Travelocity and Orbitz, notched a big win in an almost decade-long hotel tax fight in California.…
Travel Tech members help promote travel to every corner of the country and the world. Travel Tech member companies work closely with our hotel partners to ensure that they, and the destinations that they represent, are presented to consumers in the most aesthetic light, and in most cases the hotel properties are given the opportunity to customize the websites regarding their properties, including pictures and descriptions.
Travel Tech members work particularly closely with independent and local hotels, because Travel Tech member-websites are often one of the few ways for many properties to reach a national, or even international, audience.
Travel Tech members often charge the hotel properties a fee for this service, which enables them to provide the highest level of service to both the hotels that advertise through their sites and consumers that are seeking to book.
However, some state and local governments have attempted to impose taxes on these service fees. This effort, frequently prompted by plaintiffs’ class action legal firms, is damaging to consumers, and to hotel bookings generally in the destinations, which may try to apply this tax.
Whether through litigation or legislation, these taxes threaten an industry that has been an important driver of travel and tourism and the economic benefits that brings to localities everywhere. Travel Tech continues its efforts to educate policy makers all over the country about the dangers of these tax initiatives, leading a broad-based industry coalition that manages state lobbyists in more than a dozen states across the country.
Every state and locality that considered imposing these taxes in the 2012 state legislative session has declined to do so, including Connecticut, Florida, Massachusetts, Oregon, Tennessee, Utah and Virginia. The online travel companies were also victorious in litigation suits brought in Florida, Kentucky, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Ohio, Georgia, New York, California and Texas.