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By Jim Butler and Jim Abrams | JMBM's Global Hospitality Group®
Hotel Lawyers | Authors of www.HotelLawBlog.com
20 December 2009
In early November, we warned the readers of the Hotel Law Blog that the multi-year fight over "lost" transient occupancy taxes (TOT) that has been raging between local governmental entities (state, city, and county) and the various online travel companies (OTCs), such as Travelocity, Orbitz, Hotels.com, Priceline.com, and Expedia, was reaching the point where it was going to start impacting hotels financially. Unfortunately, we are there NOW, and things don't look good for the lodging industry!
Two important developments have just occurred recently, which hotel owners and operators need to watch carefully because they will be spreading rapidly.
First, at least one city has amended its TOT ordinance to expressly make hotels liable for the collection and payment of the TOT on the entire amount that a guest ultimately pays an OTC for the use of a guest room.
Second, some cities are amending their TOT ordinances so that it will make it more difficult and expensive for hotels to challenge TOT assessments.