Trade show housing scam alert: Elite Locations emerges as Travel House disappears
It appears there is a new Las Vegas entity claiming to be a corporate travel company, and it may be contacting SNEWS® readers telling them it can book hotel rooms for Outdoor Retailer Summer Market (no doubt they’ll be working the Interbike and Health & Fitness Biz angle, too)-- SNEWS has the info you need to know.
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It appears there is a new Las Vegas entity claiming to be a corporate travel company, and it may be contacting SNEWS® readers telling them it can book hotel rooms for Outdoor Retailer Summer Market (no doubt they’ll be working the Interbike and Health & Fitness Biz angle, too). One reader, who was burned in last year’s Travel House Services scam (click here to read our investigative story, “SCAM Alert: Did you book your hotel rooms at OR or HFB with Travel House Services?”), received a solicitation call and a follow-up email from Elite Locations, and immediately contacted SNEWS with his suspicions that something did not feel legit.
While Elite Locations may or may not be the same people (Travel House Services website disappeared on Jan. 30, 2010, and presto, this one, www.elitelocations.org, appeared) the shtick is the same: It claims that it can obtain rooms for trade show attendees at show hotels at competitive rates with no cancellation fees, no booking fees, and no change fees. Sound too good to be true? Probably is, and more than likely, it is a scam.
Who is Elite Locations? Hard to tell. The number given in an email sent to one of our readers by Elite Connections (shown below) is, according to ATT White Pages, listed to a private individual. It is not listed to the company or Wanda Starnes-Woods who is given as the event coordinator and official contact.
From: email@example.com[mailto :firstname.lastname@example.org]
Sent: Friday, February 26, 2010 12:50 PM
Subject: Hotel Rates/Salt lake City, Utah:August 3-6, 2010
Have you made your hotel accommodations for your show in Salt Lake City yet? Please check out the hotels, rates and distance to event site listed below and email or call me when you decide to take care of it. It’s never to early to book your rooms, but it can be too late! For your information, Elite Locations, has NO BOOKING FEES, NO CHANGE FEES and NO CANCELLATION FEES! These hotels are on a first come first serve basis and when the hotels are gone, so are these rates, so don’t wait to take care of your accommodations.
HOTELS – RATES – DISTANCE
RADISSON HOTEL: $179.00, HOST HOTEL
CHASE SUITES: $129.00 2 miles
GRAND AMERICA: $199.00 1 mile
LITTLE AMERICA: $126.00, 1 block
METROPOLITAN INN: $89.00 1 mile
RED LION INN: $102.00 1 mile
SALT LAKE PLAZA: $189.00, 1 block
SHERATON DOWNTOWN: $149.00 (this rate is only good until March 5), 3 blocks
SHILO INN: $119.00 across the street
SPRING HILL SUITES DOWN TOWN: $142.00 1 mile
Elite Locations can also help you book your rooms for any other show you may be exhibiting at, either across the country or internationally as well as we have inventory world wide.
Thank you for your time and have a wonderful day.
Event Coordinator Elite Locations
4540 S. Arville St. B-20
Las Vegas NV 89103
A search for a Wanda Starnes-Woods in Las Vegas, as well as the entire United States, turned up nothing. Another number, left in a voice mail by Elite Locations to a SNEWS subscriber (702-685-0430), is unlisted. What company uses an unlisted number? Not many, if they are legit…but we digress.
The registration for elitelocations.org was created on July 20, 2009 (shortly after our investigation into Travel House Services), and updated on Feb. 1, 2010 (when the website went live). It is registered to Ali Ghassedi and the phone number given as a contact — 702-836-9991 — is also unlisted. The address given for the website registration is the same as the company address listed on the email above for Elite Locations; however, a Google Map street view scan of the area shows the area is mostly industrial with a few storefronts and lots of vacant land.
Searching the business listing in Las Vegas, as well as travel listings and Yellow Page listings, turns up no record of an Elite Locations.
Julie Freedman, operations manager for Outdoor Retailer, told SNEWS by email when we asked her about Elite Locations and shared our reader’s letter, “This is a scam. We have warnings about this company and others like it on our website.”
We contacted Rachel Bremer, director of sales for the Shilo Inn Suites Hotel, and she informed us she’d never heard of Elite Locations.
Michelle Taylor, housing and registration manager for The Housing Connection, in response to an email we sent inquiring about Elite Connections emailed the following back: “Thank you for sending this. We have issues with this company for every convention we do, regardless of where it is at. Unfortunately, we aren’t really able to go after the actual company regarding this.”
Regardless of whether you receive a hotel booking solicitation from Elite Locations or some other entity, our advice is to stick with the official trade show housing partner, which for Outdoor Retailer is The Housing Connection. In North America, call 800-572-9707 and, internationally, call 801-521-9025. If you are attending Health & Fitness Business, call 800-221-3531 to reach that trade show’s official housing partner.