A source of opportunity in their early days for hoteliers, online platforms such as Booking or Expedia have become essential for accommodation providers but also consumers.
Except that some hoteliers are tired of the conditions “dictations” by these platforms and have decided to suspend their collaboration with Booking.
It is the association of hoteliers in the Gulf of Ajaccio, which brings together all of the hotels and tourist residences in Ajaccio, and most of them in the neighboring municipalities.
They question the position “oligopoly“of these Internet giants.
“In 15 years, hoteliers have gone from a historic ecosystem, in which they paid commissions of around 10% to travel agencies with a storefront, paying salaries, rents, taxes and charges in France or in Europe, to a new model dominated by digital platforms, in which reservations are fully automated, generate almost no jobs, and where intermediaries do not pay, if not at the margin, the contributions normally due by any company operating in France and the European Union “ he explains in a press release while “commissions have doubled in the space of a decade, often crossing the 20% mark!“
And the crisis linked to the coronavirus epidemic is fueling the already existing tensions.
“During the crisis that strikes us, online travel agencies in no way fulfill the role that should be theirs, that of partner of hoteliers and trusted intermediary for their mutual customers.
In particular, Booking.com was absent subscribers for hoteliers in the past few months, except when it came to unwelcome interference, for his sole benefit “indicates the association of hoteliers from the Gulf of Ajaccio.
She denounces :
– The platform has made no move, no proposal to support the profession;
– Booking.com has placed hoteliers in uncomfortable positions vis-à-vis their customers, forcing them to make refunds, sometimes without asking their opinion, even though the law (Order of March 25, 2020) allowed them to offer postponements of stays at no cost and for advances;
– In an uncertain economic context, it prevents hoteliers from fully deciding on their commercial policy, effectively taking control of the reservation and cancellation conditions, and even proposing to them to go beyond the legal framework in force, which nevertheless offers substantial consumer protection;
– Booking.com has not stopped marketing tourist accommodation even though a prefectoral decree prohibited this activity in Corsica (as in many territories), because of the health risk they represented;
– The platform also continues to highlight these homes, veritable clandestine hotels for some, while 80% of them are not even declared to municipalities, as the law requires them to do;
– Again this day and during the last weeks, we could see that senior residences (!) Were sold there by the night for passing tourists, despite the risks that this kind of practice can represent for permanent residents of these structures during a pandemic.
Suspension of collaboration with Booking
Faced with this observation, the association awaits several urgent responses from the platform, up to the challenges of the situation:
– Substantial reduction in commissions for all of its members;
– Real highlighting of accommodation in good standing with the law compared to undeclared accommodation, the latter must be eliminated from the accommodation sold;
– Respect for the law and end of interference in the commercial policies of hoteliers.
In this “definite expectation”, all of the hoteliers and operators of Ajaccian tourist residences, as well as most of those in neighboring municipalities – members of the association – have decided to suspend their collaboration with Booking.com, especially for the month of August 2020, during which they closed their stocks of rooms and apartments available on the platform.
The rooms remain available for direct booking with the hosts.