Unfortunately, several MWC exhibitors and attendees each year fall prey to accommodation offers from fraudulent companies. These hotel providers present themselves under names such as Allen & Stratton Events, Euro-Events, Expo-Pros.com, International Trade Show Council (ITC), Originata Events, Premier Destinations, Star Eventz and Universal Shows. This is not an exhaustive list – these outfits change names each year in the hopes of being trusted.
How Does Hotel Fraud Work?
Fraudulent companies repeatedly email our show participants with room offers for the week of MWC. Their website and/or emails mention Mobile World Congress, and even include our logo in the hopes of looking like an official or legitimate provider.
These groups promote attractive deals with local accommodation providers, but once payment has been received, the company disappears and can no longer be contacted by phone or email. Once the attendee contacts the hotel directly about their room, they realise the hotel has no record of them or their stay. Not only is their money gone, they must then scramble to find last-minute accommodation, which is rarely convenient to the venue.
This practice takes money directly from our customers and negatively impacts their MWC experience. We do everything we can to stop these companies preying on our attendees, and we don’t want this to happen to you.
How to Avoid Fraud
- Book through our Official Accommodation Partner, b network. For more than 10 years, b network has been working with Mobile World Congress and local properties to deliver consistently good hotels to our participants.
- Do not only rely on the presence of the Mobile World Congress name and logo on accommodation providers’ websites, as our name and logo are being used unlawfully. The only accommodation company recommended by the GSMA and authorised to use our name and logo is b network.
- If using another supplier, thoroughly investigate all documentation regarding the company making the offer. Check carefully online to make sure they’re a reputable supplier with a history of satisfied, actual customers before sending any funds. Run the company’s URL through a ‘Who Is‘ lookup service to see where the website was registered and how long they’ve been in business. Most dishonest websites will show that they’ve only been operational for a short period of time (six months or less).
- Use credit cards to guarantee your rooms, rather than wire transfers. If your supplier turns out to be fraudulent, credit cards typically offer some form of consumer protection, where wire transfers do not.