As more and more hoteliers consider the partnership between hotels and OTAs to be imbalanced or unfair, European based hotel trade association HOTREC has issued its benchmark of "Fair Practices for Online Travel Agents."
Online distribution is getting more and more important for the hospitality industry in Europe. On average approximately every fourth hotel room is nowadays sold via internet distribution systems (IDS) and this market share is still rapidly growing. On the other hand the number of relevant online travel agents is rather sinking and the market shows tendencies of a narrow oligopoly.
In the course of this development the atomistically structured hospitality markets in Europe, that are still characterized by small and medium sized enterprises, are facing practices in the field of digital distribution that more and more hoteliers consider to be imbalanced or unfair. Therefore HOTREC – Hotels, Restaurants & Cafés in Europe aligned the following Benchmarks of Fair Practices for Online Travel Agents (OTA) to keep the markets open and competitive for the benefit of guests, intermediates and hotels:
1. Rate, distribution and product sovereignty remain with the hotel．
It is revealing that the hospitality industry considers it essential to bring this matter of course as the general market principle back to mind. But more and more the hotels are losing control of their genuine product as a consequence of emerging pressure by distribution partners.
2. No unauthorized use of hotel brands for e.g. search engine marketing (SEM), domain names (grabbing) and other types of online-marketing．
Some OTAs use protected hotel brands without permission for their search engine marketing to divert online requests to their sites. Occupying web domains, which feature an explicit similarity to existing branded internet presences of hotels, in order to generate more hits is to be banned, too.