Hotels, online travel agents deadlock continues; all you need to know in a nutshell

By: | Updated: December 30, 2018 4:05 AM

As the deadlock between hotels and online booking portals such as MakeMyTrip and GoIbibo, and hotel leasing chain Oyo, ensues, the customers of the online giants might find themselves in a fix amid the ongoing holiday season.

Hotels are demanding that the Online Travel Agents stick to the original contract and do not go overboard on discounts.

As the deadlock between hotels and online booking portals such as MakeMyTrip and GoIbibo, and hotel leasing chain Oyo, ensues, the customers of the online giants might find themselves in a fix amid the ongoing holiday season. There have already been reports of some hotels in western India not accepting booking vouchers from MakeMyTrip, GoIbibo and other online booking portals.

Hotels industry body FHRAI (Federation of Hotels and Restaurants Association of India) is demanding that Online Travel Aggregators (OTAs) stick to the earlier negotiations and not go overboard on offering discounts without the consent of the hotel concerned. FHRAI also accuses OTAs of listing unlicensed and unauthorised accommodation. MakeMyTrip and OYO have denied the allegation of wrongful listings.

Talking to FE Online, FHRAI Vice-President Gurbaxish Kohli said that the issue arose two years ago. He claims that the hotels realised that Online Travel Aggregators (OTAs) were in breach of contract. FHRAI is also not pleased with the fact that the OTAs are approaching individual hotels for a resolution, and not the association.

MakeMyTrip, on its part, said that it’s imperative to reach out to individual hotels per the original requirements. “Each hotel has different requirements and priorities based on multiple factors and therefore it is critical that we address the requirements of each one of them and accordingly agree on commercial terms,” a MakeMyTrip spokesperson said to FE Online in response to a query.

“Separately, we are also engaging with FHRAI on understanding issues faced by the Hotel industry and exploring possible ways of addressing some of those issues through regular interactions and meetings between FHRAI and ourselves,” MakeMyTrip response added.

On discounts offered by OTAs, FHRAI’s Kohli says that the online agents had asked hotels to offer a certain discount on room tariffs for listing on their websites, and that the hotels had not consented to offering further discounts.

Kohli also said that the discount over the mentioned price is borne by the hoteliers and not by the OTAs. Also, one cannot expect the hotels to let the OTAs have the final say in the amount as it is the discretion of the hotelier, not the agent, he said.

To this, MakeMyTrip said: “The pricing of any hotel room night and the discount to be offered is largely driven to grow transactions and therefore benefit our hotel partners and consumers alike.”

Meanwhile, OYO said it is wrongful to equate all online sites as travel agents. OYO is not a travel aggregator and is a full-fledged hotel chain, a company spokesperson said to FE Online. OYO doesn’t merely list the hotels but takes charge of the small, independent hotels and provides the services itself. The spokesperson also said that the people who are creating an uproar are in direct competition with OYO’s hotel occupancy.

  • By Prachi Gupta
  • First published on 28 December 2018 on www.financialexpress.com; Updated to correct a spelling error

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