Eliminate online travel, food apps and book directly from hotels, restaurants: Industry body to customers

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February 27, 2021 3:15 PM

“Hotels and restaurants account for 35 million or around 12.5 per cent of the total employment generated in the country and support jobs directly and indirectly across India. There is an acute need for hospitality businesses to generate revenues,” said Gurbaxish Singh Kohli, Vice President, FHRAI.

Budget 2021 Expectations for HotelsMakeMyTrip, Yatra, Cleartrip, GoIbibo, etc., have been the prominent OTAs while Swiggy and Zomato have been the leading FSAs in the country. (Reuters image)

Seeking out urgent support to survive the alleged possible collapse ahead, the Covid-hit hospitality sector has earnestly urged its customers to bypass online travel aggregators (OTAs) and food service aggregators (FSAs) and book rooms and order food directly from hotels and restaurants. Industry body Federation of Hotel & Restaurant Associations of India (FHRAI) on Friday also launched a campaign to seek customer support for the industry that is going through “its worst times and several hotels and restaurants are closed for over eight months.” The federation, which represented 55,000 hotels and 5 lakh restaurants across India, asked customers to “eliminate the intermediaries and reduce the burden of exorbitant commissions levied by OTAs and FSA.” MakeMyTrip, Yatra, Cleartrip, GoIbibo, etc., have been the prominent OTAs while Swiggy and Zomato have been the leading FSAs in the country.

“Hotels and restaurants account for 35 million or around 12.5 per cent of the total employment generated in the country and support jobs directly and indirectly across India. There is acute need for hospitality businesses to generate revenues,” said Gurbaxish Singh Kohli, Vice President, FHRAI in a statement. For every order or booking made through the FSAs or OTAs, restaurants and hotels lose anywhere between 20 to 30 per cent as commission, according to Kohli. He added that even if customers switch to direct booking temporarily for the next few months, it will help the hospitality industry immensely.

Also read: Mukesh Ambani again falls to second richest Asian spot after briefly surpassing China’s Zhong Shanshan

The federation had earlier this week requested the Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman to increase the threshold limit for zero GST for hotel room tariffs from Rs 1,000 per room per day as of now to Rs 2,000 per room per day to boost affordable room stays, encourage domestic tourism, and help improve revenues for hoteliers. According to the federation, the pandemic has forced a large number of hotels and restaurants to permanently shut or considerably scale down operations.

“As such already the aggregators have choked the entrepreneurial aspirations and enterprise of many hotels and restaurants. Unsuspecting maverick startup founders entered the Industry with online apps and have now stifled hoteliers and restaurateurs to a point where they have very little choice but to shut shop today, or slowly bleed to death,” added D V S Soma Raju, Honorary Treasurer, FHRAI.

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