Indian hotels are the latest to declare war on OTAs
Just days after food-delivery apps faced fire from restaurant owners in southern India, online travel agencies (OTAs) are battling opposition from hoteliers in the western part of the country.
Around 270 hotel-owners in Ahmedabad, capital of the state of Gujarat, are refusing to take bookings from major OTAs like MakeMyTrip and Goibibo, opposing the heavy commissions they charge and the hefty discounts they offer consumers.
The boycott has been initiated by the Gujarat chapter of the Hotels and Restaurants Association (HRA), the Financial Express newspaper reported.
According to HRA, these online booking portals initially charged between 15% and 18% as commission, but the figure has now climbed up to over 40%. The HRA now wants it brought down to 15%.
“Initially everyone has to compete but it has to be with fair policies. Now, some players are resorting to arm-twisting of hotels with higher and higher commissions and erratic contract changes,” Pankaj Gupta, president of the Tour Operator and Travel Agents Association of Gujarat (TAG), told Quartz.
In a statement to Quartz, MakeMyTrip, which acquired Ibibo Group in October 2016, said it is honouring all the bookings on its platform in Ahmedabad as of now.
Last week, some 200-odd members of the Kerala Hotel and Restaurant Association (KHRA) decided to boycott food aggregators like Swiggy, Zomato, and Uber Eats for the same reasons as those now cited by the hoteliers.
“We saw strikes by Ola and Uber drivers in Mumbai and now we are seeing efforts by hotel-owners who are not happy with some of the practices of the online companies,” said Harish HV, an independent analyst who tracks the startup sector in India. “This is not dissimilar to the earlier days when there were clashes between companies and labour, and unions were formed as a tool for bargaining.”