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Toes in the Sand, Umbrella in Your Drink (If You Don't Get Scammed)

by Hannah Stiff | Jun 6, 2019 9:03:52 AM

It’s confession time.

I can’t stop thinking about vacation.

Now you’re thinking, “What kind of employee admits that in a company blog post?”

This employee.

Let me tell you why I’ve been thinking ad nauseum of vacation.

I recently put pen to paper (ahem, fingers to keyboard) about the many benefits of BBB accreditation for businesses in the vacation and hospitality industries. I wrote nearly 1000 words on ways that Montana vacation businesses are maximizing their BBB accreditation. Stay tuned to read all about it in our brand spankin’ new BBB magazine coming out this summer. (Don’t worry, we’ll keep you posted with all the details).

In the process of researching this story, I met some amazing Montana business owners including a family that runs a bed and breakfast in Yellowstone National Park, some busy bees renting out campervans for summer road trippers, a multi-generational RV sales company, and many others. These business owners operating under the Big Sky make vacations a whole lotta fun.

But they do something else. They offer their customers peace of mind. You see, the businesses I mentioned, and hundreds more around the state, are BBB Accredited Businesses. That means they are committed to dealing fairly with customers, responding to their concerns and complaints, and acting ethically (even when no one is watching).

In the vacation industry, those things matter. Travelers want to know that when they trek across the United States or fly to another country, their reservations really do exist at the property they intended to book. Vacationers want to make sure reviews they read before booking are legitimate. In short, they want vacation to feel like vacation.

Each year, the BBB receives hundreds upon hundreds of reports from people who were swindled while trying to book their vacation. Just yesterday, I read about a couple with two young children who booked their hotels for an upcoming vacation online. After a few weeks, the couple realized they never received a confirmation from the company for their hotel. After a little digging and a few phone calls, the couple realized the online booking company was defunct, despite continuing to let customers book online. In the report entered in BBB’s Scam Tracker, the couple said they had not yet recouped the money they paid for the hotel.

“Could you even imagine driving 20+ hours with two babies in a car only to arrive at your hotel which you reserved many months in advance only to be told that your reservation was canceled, and they were sold out,” the couple wrote in their report.

Sadly, this report isn’t rare. Other travelers report much higher losses on different vacation scams. We can’t say it enough but do your research before you book. When in doubt, dig. Always check business profiles at bbb.org before booking. Read verified reviews online. Feel free to pick up the phone to talk to a real person when booking a vacation. Remember, your best bet is to look for the BBB Seal when booking your vacation - you might just find the perfect campervan to drive to the perfect bed and breakfast.

For more information about vacation scams, visit bbb.org/scamtips.

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