URGENT need to regulate Online Room Aggregators to protect Budget Hotel Industry

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The hotel industry is now facing a never before grave situation, due to lack of control and regulations of the new online players like OYO Rooms, Goibibo, MakeMyTrip etc. These online players are with very very deep pockets, have extremely high spends on advertising, media clouts & powerful PR machinery and have embraced the most unethical business practices to unearth the hoteliers, under the pretence of helping them with higher revenues.

The practices include

  • Deep discounting of the hotel rates that distorts the brand value of the hotel and the customer profile 
  • Levying of service charge or service fee. They charge service charge to stand alone hotel reservations and no service charge is charged towards chain hotel reservations. When the platform is same then why this discrimination? 
  • False commitments and lack of contractual obligations 
  • Exorbitant commissions, sometimes as high as 40%
  • Charging commission on the GST component of the room tariffs, which is illegal
  • Lack of rate transparency that has also harboured cases of cheating, where the amount received from customers is actually much higher than what is shown to the hotels on which again, commission is collected.
  • Hijacking of all existing online business of hotels by white-labelling that ensures the online brand and reputation of the hotel is dead 
  • Complicated and incoherent payment advices, followed by withholding of payments
  • Poaching of marketing and service staff
  • Control of the liberty of hotels from accepting their own bookings, cancellation fee etc., all configured to their advantage technologically.

Many of these operators are playing a dual role of a hotel chain cum aggregator, meaning they are playing the role of your competitor being your partner, by making use of the infamous East India policy of Divide and Rule – making one hotel fight against the other for the business. The best example is that of OYO Rooms'.

Please note that these players are not generating the business but only channelizing it. Their technology which should ideally be a discovery engine has now become a discounting engine, where the customers are accustomed to the promotions, that they will never use the hotels directly and thus the brand name goes out of the window. Under the guise of disruption, they are working to destroy their partners. Worse is levy of huge commission to sustain such huge discounts.

Their recent acts, policies, attitude, arm twisting and strategies have awakened the disgruntled hoteliers across India, and have started many agitations demanding a roll back on many of their predatory policies. The fact that hoteliers across the country have united should give an idea of the gravity of the situation and demands.

This petition is for enhancing our voice against the atrocities meted out to hoteliers where we will approach the government also, so that all the stakeholders come under a regulatory framework that will prevent such operators from running amok like a bull in a china shop.

Please sign this petition and help us salvage our pride as hoteliers. This is a historic opportunity where we need to act in a precarious DO or Die situation. Your participation or lack of it will influence the way we will live – either as sustainable / profitable entrepreneurs or as a slave or pawn in the game of valuation by the inconsiderate online invaders.