Hospitality Today Summer 2017 (#38) - Page 21

hospitalitytoday.com | 21 Begrudging OTAs for being good at what they do is no reason to run to the government urging unnecessary regulations. Not only would the implementation of burdensome regulations on OTAs prove harmful to the traveling consumer, but it could also have a negative impact on B&Bs and the benefits the travel industry provides for local economies. Leisure and business travellers benefit greatly from the ability to search, compare, and book travel through the advanced technological solutions created and deployed by today’s innovative and popular online travel companies. OTAs have created a vibrant marketplace where suppliers are forced to compete and consumers win. OTAs created and maintain the online marketplace for accommodations. Without these platforms, consumers would have to visit dozens or even hundreds of websites and waste valuable time making an informed booking decision. As intermediaries, OTAs provide great benefit to both suppliers and consumers. They save consumers money and offer them more choice by creating an open, transparent marketplace where hotels, inns and B&Bs compete on location, price and amenities. In that scenario, it is highly unlikely that those consumers would stumble upon Mr. Weston’s members. B&Bs benefit by showing up in search results alongside major hotel brands without having to spend thousands on advertising. Consumers rely on the convenience of shopping across multiple travel brands in a single place and statistics show they continue to trust online travel companies with their vacation and business travel itineraries. The reliability of independent booking sites is why hundreds of thousands of hotels, motels, inns and B&Bs around the world continue willingly and enthusiastically to partner with online trav el companies. Engagement with OTAs is voluntary. The benefits are clear and present. They put heads in beds and help B&Bs market unsold inventory. They deliver customers through the front doors of hotels and B&Bs unlike any other channel in e-commerce in any other industry. Complaining about their prowess and asking the government to investigate and regulate OTAs for being good at what they do is tantamount to damaging the partner that empowers you to compete better in the marketplace. What do you think? Email comment@hospitalitytoday.com