Friday, October 7, 2011

The French Rule on OTA "No Rooms" Practices

You know the media are always mocking our Gallic cousins at the slightest opportunity but sometimes we really should be applauding their actions against multi national domination! We may have laughed at their aims to protect their language on the Internet but maybe they're not wrong. The following is from and highlights a really serious issue facing hotels in Scotland as well. 
When No Rooms available flags up in one of the market dominating OTA's do you really think that the consumer rushes directly to the hotel website to check? No the majority probably just go to the options and when they find a property with availability will then price compare. But the original hotel with "No Availability" loses out. Fair? Well the French legal system doesn't think so.
"French websites of Expedia, TripAdvisor and are obliged to change their unfair practices with regard to provision of information hotel availability and prices, according to a French Court ruling.
SYNHORCAT, one of the French HOTREC member associations, had launched a case at the Paris Commercial Court, claiming that the above mentioned websites were providing misleading and false information.

As an example, and were claiming at some hotel booking searches “No rooms are available at the selected dates”, but that was only true for bookings via that site, because rooms were still available via direct booking or other channels. This practice was unreasonably drifting away guests to other accommodation providers in the neighborhood, causing economic damage to hoteliers.

In its ruling of 4 October 2011, the Court supported SYNHORCAT’s claim and obliged the French websites of Expedia, TripAdvisor and to change their unfair practices and to pay compensation for the damage caused to the French hotel industry.

Didier Chenet, President of SYNHORCAT, further explained: “We will continue pursuing the adoption of fair practices in other areas of online distribution as well, like the authenticity of travellers’ opinions, legality of contracts between hoteliers and reservation sites, including fair practices in relation to reservations of restaurants”.
Surely we need to be turning to our hospitality representatives and encouraging them to turn their focus on issues that are seriously impacting on the profitability of our own hospitality sector. When are Scottish businesses and organisation going to act to protect their own brands, margins and futures? On this basis maybe a copy of this should make its way to the BHA, Scottish Tourism Forum and the Tourism Minister. Any takers?

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