"We don't acquire hotel rooms. We don't rent hotel rooms. We don't operate hotels. We facilitate the reservation and in some instances collect the payment from the consumer which is then remitted directly to the hotel operator which are responsible for then submitting the tax payment," said Steve Shur. "Online travel agencies have prevailed in the vast majority of these cases and expect to do so in this matter as well."
In February, a divided three-judge panel in Florida sided with the online travel companies, ruling that tourist development taxes are due only on what the firms pay to hotels, not the full amount they charge their customers. The case is heading to the state's highest court.
In March, a Hawaii court slapped the companies with a $70 million fine in March after deciding that they owed the state $158 million in unpaid taxes and interest. The companies are appealing the ruling.