For a few years now, renting homes in the greater Orlando region has become popular amongst various Orthodox communities seeking a Passover vacation. This option typically comes at a discount when compared to Pesach programs, and is especially true for large families.
Recently, we’ve been witnessing an uptick in scams and fraud, seeking to milk the demand for homes during this high travel season, especially when people don’t want to vacation with other families in hotels. Stories of double bookings, losing reservations, canceled reservations mere days before the Passover holiday commences are coming to a head this week as potentially thousands of vacationing Orthodox Jews are heading down to Orlando with no place to stay. Home reservations are practically sold out in the region. Families are finding out that after they’ve shipped food down and/or arrived in Orlando, that the home they think they’ve rented is not available to them.
These reservations were made on a multitude of platforms including Airbnb, Vrbo, Booking.com, and others. Under normal circumstances, these are all great platforms (with varying degrees of differences), but have now pitted renters and homeowners against each other in a battle for vacation space where none may exist. It’s a bad look and
We need to see these platforms step in, investigate what is happening, fine and/or remove these bad actors from their platforms in addition to accommodating these guests that are left high and dry.
According to YWN, more than 200 of these cases are currently unfolding for this Passover season, which could easily put thousands of Jews in a really tough spot merely days before the holiday begins.
YWN has captured a few testimonials in their article here.