Online Travel Fraud: Mitigating Risks & Preventing Slashing Revenues

Online Travel Fraud
In 2020, the number of suspected online travel fraud attempts in the U.S. jumped by 136.6%. Two years later, the online travel fraud “industry” is still going strong, making online travel agencies and tourism businesses lose their money and reputation.

"Traveling has always been when people are more vulnerable. A few hundred years ago, the perpetrators were pirates or highwaymen. Now those criminals are still out there, but they've changed their methods to focus on digital attacks instead."

-Caleb Barlow, ex-Vice President of X-Force Threat Intelligence at IBM Security.

Mitigating fraud risk is important in any industry, but it is especially important in industries like travel where competition is fierce and margins are shrinking. The high resale value of its digital goods makes the travel industry vulnerable to fraud.



Fortunately, advanced solutions that prevent fraud have shown great results in the airline and travel industries. Machine learning and artificial intelligence tools are improving in efficiency. With their help and a variety of other methods, a good travel fraud prevention team can curb fraud in the travel industry, increase profit margins, and cut down on the costs and time taken for manual reviews of transactions to prevent financial losses.


How are Online Travel Agencies Mitigating Fraud Risks and Safeguarding Revenue?

Online travel agencies need to be on their toes to preserve their revenue and reputation, and the integrity of their operations to grow and sustain their businesses. Modern online fraud prevention methods can protect you from fraud without jeopardizing the customer experience. Let us look at these methods:


Implementing Machine Learning-based Solutions

Machine learning-based models can be the backbone of your fraud protection strategy. These models can recognize patterns and predict outcomes. They help you identify anomalies in customer behavior in real time, flag an account-takeover attempt, analyze transaction riskiness, and block them before they result in a chargeback. ML-based fraud detection software like Signifyd and Riskified detects illegitimate activities related to payments, account creation, purchases, and chargebacks. They monitor websites, networks, and applications for fraud and prevent digital payment fraud.
It is important to remember that you need to strike a good balance between these preventive measures and your customer experience, so you do not lose business by focusing on only one aspect.


Transaction Monitoring

This method focuses on the credit card used for booking. Using an intelligence tool, check if there is a mismatch between the user’s IP address and their billing information and if the same user is making too many bookings from the same account or same card. Combine these insights with user verification and fraud scoring tools so you can reject suspicious transactions automatically. Also, keep an eye on changes to bookings to avoid problems, and follow the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DS S) to make sure card payments are as safe as possible.


User Profiling

Gather important customer data like email addresses, credit card information, loyalty points, and social networking handles. Behavioral data on what the customer does on your website or your mobile app, the devices through which the customer connects to the website, and their email address or location can help prevent fraud. Additionally, online travel agencies can verify users in the following ways:

Use an address verification service (AVS) and a card security code (CVV or CVC). Verify scanned ID documents using SaaS products to add another layer of security to every transaction.
Create a blacklist to block specific users if you notice any suspicious attempts.
Use device fingerprinting to block devices previously associated with fraudulent activities.


Anti-ATO Methods

To prevent account takeover attempts, deploy two-factor authentication for travel agents, and 3D secure PIN codes for end customers. Biometric technology and mobile payment wallet apps like Google Pay, and Apple Pay can curb swindlers from getting into a customer’s account without secure pins or fingerprints.


Verify Suppliers

Set up a process for verifying every supplier before making any payments. Check their business license, business reviews on Google, and check their Google Street View to confirm if a hotel actually exists at the mentioned address. Ensure that there is no correlation between a steep increase in hotel prices and booking activity because it could be a hotel price spike scam.


Block Bot Attacks

Any kind of abnormal spike in web or app traffic can be an indication of a bot attack. Real-time protection against bots can be a great way to handle illegitimate traffic. Compare every website request against the in-memory pattern database using ML and AI to check and block bots swiftly. Implement networking that can safeguard your domains within milliseconds upon detecting a bad bot.


Control Friendly Fraud

Chargeback abuses are hard to prevent. The only way to fight back is to document compelling evidence to prove that the said transaction was legitimate. Document order forms, tracking numbers, online travel agency customer communication logs, any kind of travel product redemption evidence, and confirmation for items delivered to an address that matches with the address verification service (AVS).


Air France Sped Up Manual Reviews By 70%

Air France wanted an easy way to access reliable information on potentially risky transactions. So they chose SEON’s Intelligence Tool. 

“The time spent by Air France analysts on manual reviews is down by an impressive 70%.”

- Eric Facquet, Deputy Manager of Fraud Prevention at Air France


Summing It Up

Tackle online travel fraud head-on while keeping in mind your end customer. You must protect your customers from fraud in a way that is strong, practical, and well-balanced. This way should cover the customer's entire journey with you, both literally and figuratively.


FAQ


Which software tools can help with fraud detection?

Fraud detection software tools such as SEON, ClickGUARD, Riskified and Oracle Adaptive Access Manager can help detect fraud.


How can you improve fraud detection?

Use machine learning models to automate processes for fraud investigation, and regularly update rules for detection and how to handle alerts.


What does fraud detection software do?

Fraud detection software regulates accounts, payments, purchases, and events in real-time to detect any fraudulent activities. It also protects sensitive company and customer data.

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My Place Hotels of America Opens My Place Hotels-Idaho Falls, ID

PR Newswire | January 25, 2024

My Place Hotels of America has officially opened My Place Hotels-Idaho Falls, ID, in Idaho Falls, ID. This marks the 70th open and operating My Place property nationally. Guard Hospitality manages the property, which is owned by MP Idaho Falls and was developed by Legacy Builders. The 64-key property is pet-friendly and offers many amenities, including complimentary high-speed Wi-Fi, onsite laundry, a grilling station, and a 24-hour grab-and-go store stocked with food, beverages, and other necessities. Each guestroom includes a full kitchen and coffee maker. The property sits just minutes from the heart of historic downtown Idaho Falls and is adjacent to the new Snake River Landing Development. Idaho Falls is the largest city East of Idaho's capital, with an estimated population of approximately 64,000 people. The city serves as the commercial, cultural, and healthcare hub for Eastern Idaho, Western Wyoming, and Southern Montana. Idaho Falls' location in the greater Bonneville County is often referred to as the "Gateway to Yellowstone Park" due to its proximity to one of the nation's most popular national parks and its own recreational activities. My Place Hotels-Idaho Falls is also the official hotel partner of the Idaho Falls Spud Kings, one of the newest franchises in the United States Premier Hockey League (USPHL)'s Tier 3 Mountain Division, and is minutes from Mountain America Center, where the Spud Kings play. "We were very excited to see My Place Hotels-Idaho Falls officially open its doors at the end of 2023," stated Ryan Rivett, co-founder and CEO of My Place Hotels. "This property boasts an incredible location, and we are confident that our robust offerings will distinguish us in this dynamic market. As we look forward to additional openings in 2024, we are eager to leverage our momentum to expand our presence with a focus on strategic growth."

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Hospitality Trends, Hospitality Management

Sonesta Announces First Sonesta Es Suites Ground Up Development

PR Newswire | January 24, 2024

Sonesta International Hotels Corporation (Sonesta) today announced plans for the construction of a new Sonesta ES Suites in Port Charlotte, Florida. This new property, expected to open in Spring 2025, marks the first Sonesta ES Suites brand project developed from the ground up. "We are excited that Sonesta ES Suites Port Charlotte will be our first purpose-built location for the brand," said Brian Quinn, Sonesta's Chief Development Officer. "The Sonesta ES Suites brand stands out as an attractive choice for franchisees looking for an upscale option to capitalize on the continued dependable performance of extended stay hotels." "Sonesta ES Suites Port Charlotte will benefit business travelers and tourists who are looking for accommodations near the beaches, golf courses, parks and other attractions that Port Charlotte has to offer," said Alan Lane, one of Sonesta ES Suites Port Charlotte's owners. "The addition of Sonesta ES Suites Port Charlotte to our diverse portfolio reflects Commonwealth Hotels' unwavering commitment to providing an unparalleled guest experience through visionary development, ethical practices and a steadfast dedication to superior service," said Jennifer Porter, President of Commonwealth Hotels, the hotel's management company. To be located at 1321 Claburn Circle in Port Charlotte, Florida, the Sonesta ES Suites Port Charlotte will be an upscale extended-stay hotel spanning four floors and offering 117 rooms with amenities including breakfast and dining services, an outdoor pool, fitness room, market pantry, guest laundry, onsite parking and more. The location of the new hotel is close to over 20 colleges and universities, two hospitals, more than 70 parks and recreational spaces, more than 12 miles of beaches, 14 golf courses and numerous other attractions. Guests of this location will be able to earn or redeem points in the award winning Sonesta Travel Pass loyalty program.

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Events