Who Really Wins In The Cities/Towns vs OTAs? Lawyers!

No matter where you stand on the current battle(s) between the online travel agencies (OTAs) and the various municipalities who are currently suing them over occupancy taxes, you'll probably have to agree that this outcome reported in the Madison Record (a weekly legal journal covering the Madison County, IL courts) is not a good one.
Some great reporting from this unlikely source reveals that nearly 80 percent of a recent case settlement by the fair city of Fairview Heights, IL against eight OTAs went to the lawyers who handled the case. The settlement for Fairview Heights was $315,000 of which the attorneys collected $227,000 plus another $31,0000 in expenses.

This isn't meant to be an anti-lawyer tirade (indeed, the lawyers in this case only billed at about $50 an hour in total) but a concern about who really wins in these cases. We don't yet have the answer, but a situation where the OTAs cough up all sorts of money and most of it goes to pay legal bills rather than to the cities (where mayors and city council members are claiming that all this money will be used for the benefits of their citizenry) is hardly a good outcome for anyone.

These insights are excerpted with permission from Tom Botts' Hudson Crossing blog.