SULPHUR, Okla. (KFOR) – A bed and breakfast owner in Sulphur says he is having trouble booking rooms because one of the big travel companies is getting in the way.
“We’ve been absolutely dead. You can see right now, you can shoot a gun through here,” said Joe Van Horn.
The owner of Echo Canyon Resort and Spa says business has been slow since April. That’s when he claims Expedia.com and other sites owned by the travel giant showed that all of the rooms at Echo Canyon were booked when they weren’t.
“We’ve had multiple problems that have gone on and on over booking sites showing that we were totally booked until 4-20-21,”said Van Horn.
Unused Spa beds, empty seats at the bar, unoccupied rooms – Joe says his business, which gets 99% of its bookings online, has been shown as full to thousands of potential customers for the last 8 months. He says that has cost him and his employees.
“Oh, it’s hundreds of thousands of dollars. The worst part about the whole thing is that it really affected our employees because, all of a sudden, there is no work,” Van Horn said.
Van Horn says this all results from a class action suit by B&Bs in California against Expedia. Van Horn says Expedia illegally redirected customers to hotels that provide a cut of the booking to the travel reservation giant.
Joe says when Expedia then bought bed and Breakfast.com, which was part of the suit, all the properties that were listed there were then deleted or shown as booked on all Expedia-owned sites like TripAdvisor, Hotels.com and Travelocity.
Van Horn says just recently Echo Canyon got back up on Expedia, but not all the sites.
“We didn’t realize the problem was still going on. We had people call yesterday, saying, ‘Why cant we book? Why are you closed?” said Van Horn.
News 4 attempted to contact Expedia multiple times today for comment. Our call was not returned.
Echo Canyon Resort and Spa recently sent out an email telling former guests that they weren’t full and that rooms were available.