July 14, 2015

Housing Pirate Warning

Today's blog is two days early because it is a much needed warning to my fellow NAHB members who attend national board meetings and/or the International Builders Show. You may have received this warning already and I apologize for being redundant to those who have.
Barbara Rapp, Assistant Vice President, Housing & Leadership Events, has a message that you need to read and pass along to your membership back home.


Thank you , Barbara. We, as association family, need to stick together and watch each others back! 



 Housing Pirate Warning

It has come to my attention this week that “housing pirates” targeted several of our members and EOs offering to book hotel rooms for them during the Fall Board Meeting in Dallas.  This is the first time we’ve seen them coming after housing business for NAHB’s smaller meetings.  While we have been warning IBS exhibitors and attendees for years about these companies, they are more prevalent now due to the expansive nature of the Internet, making it easier for these offenders to find contact lists. 

With individuals striving to find the best deals online, many fall prey to these companies offering to sell them hotel rooms at a lower rate for the group’s meeting.  The pirates will reach out in a variety of ways; email, telephone or even phony websites that look convincingly official.  They inform the individual that they are calling on NAHB’s behalf to secure hotel rooms for them. They may reference the meeting location or specific meeting hotels and they will usually warn the person that the room block is almost sold out to encourage immediate action. These solicitations have become more aggressive and sometimes financially damaging if credit card information is divulged.

The hardest reality to face about this is what the pirates do is often legal but obviously very unethical.  NAHB attempts to inhibit these companies by sending cease and desist letters and by including the names of the companies and their employees in correspondence to our members and attendees.

Below is information that you can send to members to warn them about these companies.

As the Fall Board Meeting and the International Builders’ Show approach, exhibitors and attendees often receive unauthorized solicitations from hotels or third-party housing agencies which are not affiliated with NAHB.
These unaffiliated third parties typically advertise a lower rate than NAHB’s official hotel block rates. However, the lower rates may be a reflection of the lower quality of the rooms offered, and/or significantly less favorable terms that apply to the reservation. For example, cancellation policies imposed on guests who book with such third parties are often harsh and unforgiving. And in other cases, these groups turn out not to have any rooms available on the relevant dates at the low rates they advertise but they request credit card and other sensitive information nonetheless. For these reasons, and to support NAHB’s efforts to give you the highest quality meeting experience, we strongly encourage you to book your housing accommodations using the reservation tools provided by NAHB.
Only Official NAHB Hotels hold room blocks reserved for NAHB guests. Any offers or calls you may receive from other hotels and/or housing agencies are not affiliated with NAHB and are not authorized communications, even if they appear to offer rooms at an Official NAHB Hotel.
A company called Exhibitor Housing Services, 800-217-4227, is one of the companies described above.  If you are contacted by Exhibitor Housing Services, please do not give them any personal information and contact me immediately at brapp@nahb.org.

Thank you!

Regards,

Barbara

Barbara Rapp
Assistant Vice President, Housing & Leadership Events
Exhibitions & Meetings

1201 15th Street, NW

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