One of the major problems that travel companies face is the growing problem of criminals who defraud holiday makers out of cash for holidays that simply do not exist. The American Hotel and Lodging Association recently claimed up to 2.5 million fake or misleading bookings are reported a year, a number that doesn’t show any signs of reducing despite the anti-counterfeiting measures many major travel organisations take.
It doesn’t take much knowledge or skill to set up a website these days and with some pictures of genuine hotels taken off the Internet, some reviews added from real sites such as Tripadvisor and a relevant domain name, a criminal can have a fake booking website up and running in no time. More often than not the only way victims know they have been duped is when they turn up at a property or an airport and find there is no booking in their name. By then, the cyber-criminals are long gone into the sunset with their bag of cash.
One of the major advantages of the new gTLD programme, launched by ICANN in 2012 was to enable organisations to apply to run their own domain name infrastructure, thus ensuring legitimacy and authenticity of what was to the right of the dot. One such organisation was Marriott Hotels, who applied to run dotMarriott. In an interesting twist of events this month, the global Hotel chain has announced it will switch all of its existing dotCom domain names to dotMarriott ones to improve trust and transparency for all customers who book direct.
"Marriott is helping to pioneer how businesses use this new type of top-level domain as an opportunity to evolve, innovate and simplify your online journeys," a Marriott statement said.
"Whenever you see .marriott, you'll have even more assurance that it's from a trusted Marriott affiliation, including our 4,000+ destinations spanning 18 hotel brands in 78 countries, Marriott Rewards, and corporate and franchise information."
Marriott could well be pioneers in the new domain name world by taking such an approach which will not only make the internet slightly more secure but will also encourage other similar brand holders to think outside the box and create innovative, customer focused solutions.