Published on Monday, April 10, 2017

Hospitality association backs GTMC criticism of hotels

Events and hospitality association HBAA has backed claims made this week that hotels are creating confusion in the business travel market by promoting benefits for customers who book direct.

Juliet Price, HBAA consultant executive director said "Our own agency members are similarly frustrated by the impact that this approach is having in the B2B marketplace.

"Whilst understanding that the hotels' efforts to encourage and entice direct bookings are aimed at those using OTAs, this strategy significantly undermines the value and advantages that the traditional agency sales channel delivers, as well as causing confusion for customers and corporate procurement".

HBAA is evaluating the brand incentives aimed at direct booking while urging all hotel suppliers to recognise that hotel booking agencies and TMCs 'deliver valuable business through extremely cost effective channels when compared to OTAs'.

It is also advising them to allow agencies access to the same terms when booking on behalf of their customers.

Louise Goalen, HBAA chair and MD of Bela Events, said: "We know that hotels want to work with agencies - we have over 220 hotel companies within our membership, and that's their reason for joining HBAA.

"Some hotel brands extend the benefits and incentives of booking direct to our agency members so that they pass them on to their customers whilst continuing to book on their behalf. This is vital to maintaining the integrity of the agency's service, especially when capturing spend and data, as well as the absolutely critical point of duty of care and tracking of all travellers."

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