Accommodation booking fraud is a major concern for event organisers worldwide. Their events attract thousands of visitors who need to stay in the area, meaning hotel rooms fill up quickly and many delegates are left to organise their own rental accommodation with private homeowners.
Unfortunately, fraudsters are wise to the demand and are using these major events to prey on conference delegates with fake online listings for rental accommodation that either doesn’t exist, or isn’t theirs to book. People are being conned out of money by paying for rooms, villas and apartments that fail to materialise.
Despite the negative impact this can have on those affected, event organisers have been powerless to protect their clients and visitors from rental fraud – until now.
I-PRAC offers a solution to the growing problem of rental fraud, putting control back in the hands of event organisers.
Put simply, it is a verification service for property owners and rental agencies that offer short-term rental accommodation to holidaymakers and business travellers.
A number of event organisers have already seen the benefit of working with I-PRAC, and it is hoped that more organisers will soon be advising their delegates to use it when booking private accommodation for events across Europe.
How I-PRAC works
I-PRAC accreditation is awarded by an official body of industry experts who work with government agencies around the world to carry out a robust and in-depth verification process. This involves several stages of checks to ensure all members are legitimate operators, during which I-PRAC experts will verify identity, company ownership and bank account details, with examination of official documents and telephone verification. I-PRAC will also verify any listings on online property platforms such as Airbnb and HomeAway.
Approved members receive a personalised I-PRAC logo and unique ID number to use in their marketing material and on their websites. Holidaymakers looking for accommodation can search the I-PRAC database, free of charge, to verify a provider’s identity and bank account details – and book safely using those details.
Rental agencies and property owners pay to be approved by I-PRAC, and all registered payments made to I-PRAC members are 100% insured against rental fraud.
Chris Maughan, CEO and Founder of I-PRAC, said: “I-PRAC provides a real solution to rental fraud for the first time ever, setting the standard for the industry and making it almost impossible for fraudsters to operate. Although it is a growing problem in many industries, it is of particular concern to event organisers who can have tens of thousands of people arriving to a city at the same time for a major event, such as the Cannes Film Festival.
“Fraudsters exploit these opportunities to create bogus listings for accommodation that is available for those dates and much cheaper than the market rate. Sometimes they will book the same accommodation ten times over. Once they have taken the money, the listing is deleted and they walk away, never to be heard from again.
“While it is ultimately up to the delegate where they choose to stay, organisers of these events obviously don’t want their visitors being targeted by fraud. We’re very excited about working with more event organisers, as it will be a huge step forward in the fight against rental fraud.”