Travelocity stops selling wholesale hotel rooms in Baltimore By Dennis Schaal / May 19, 2009 Share 1 -- Travelocity has executed a Baltimore chop that has little to do with high-bouncing baseballs and everything to do with hotel taxes.Without fanfare, Travelocity early this year ceased selling wholesale hotel rooms in Baltimore, Travelocity spokesman Dan Toporek said Monday.Toporek said Travelocity took action after the city adopted a hotel occupancy tax statute in 2007 that taxes online travel agencies’ service fees. Baltimore then sued major online travel agencies late last year.Travelocity still sells Baltimore hotels, but charges retail rates offered by the hotels themselves and earns commissions on sales. That model is generally less profitable than procuring wholesale rates and marking them up to consumers. Travelocity removed wholesale inventory "as a precaution until the issues are resolved," Toporek said.By all accounts, Expedia, Orbitz and Priceline continue to sell wholesale inventory in Baltimore, a city with about 14,000 hotel rooms.Toporek also confirmed that Travelocity stopped selling wholesale inventory in Columbus, Ga., after a court in November ordered Expedia to begin paying hotel occupancy taxes on the marked-up rate charged to consumers, not just the wholesale rate it receives from hotels.Travelocity was not a party to the Columbus, Ga., litigation that involved Expedia, but "decided to stop marketing rooms in Columbus until the issues raised in that case have been resolved.""Our strategy is to continue to vigorously oppose these suits, which we believe are wrong on the facts, wrong on the law, and bad for consumers and destinations alike," Toporek said. "We will continue to evaluate the results of each case on its own merits."Toporek added that Travelocity has not removed wholesale hotel inventory from any cities other than Baltimore and Columbus, Ga.Hundreds of tax jurisdictions around the U.S. are pursuing the online agencies, charging that they collect taxes on the retail rates of hotel rooms, but only remit to the hotels taxes on the wholesale rates. The online agencies counter that they do not operate hotels and thus are not liable for paying taxes on the retail rate.