Tuesday 10 December, 2019

Caribbean Hoteliers slam Bookings.com commissions policy as unfair

Frank Comito, Director General and President of the CHTA

Frank Comito, Director General and President of the CHTA

The Caribbean Hotel and Tourism Association (CHTA) is calling a decision by Booking.com to charge hotels commissions on resort fees on top of a hotel’s base rate as grossly unfair.

In a release, the CHTA said it has called for the immediate discontinuance of the policy which was expected to be rolled out since June.

The trade organisation wrote a letter to Booking.com, citing "a strong negative backlash" from members particularly how it cuts into employee tips and gratuities.

CHTA pointed to a recent survey of its 33 national hotel and tourism federation associations, and hotels which revealed a belief the commission policy was "regressive and punitive" adding to Booking.com's revenue while reducing the profitability of the Caribbean tourism industry, hotel operations and the earnings of many of the region's employees. 

CHTA said more than 60 percent of hotels reported the Booking.com commission policy will result in changes in how they assess and/or cover these charges, which survey respondents indicated included: increasing rates; deducting the commission from the tip/gratuity amount paid to employees; no longer accepting bookings from Booking.com; or reconsidering the discounted percentage offered to Booking.com.

Among the actions CHTA said a number of the region's hotels considered taking include applying a Booking.com Fee Surcharge to customer billings to recover the added cost and using other booking platforms.

CHTA's CEO and Director General Frank Comito added the commissions would directly affect travelers because some of the higher costs associated with additional payments to Booking.com will need to be shared by the traveling public, as some hotels seek to recoup losses by raising prices.

"In a region where consumer price sensitivity and high operating costs are an ongoing challenge, this presents the industry with an added predicament," Comito stated.

He also cautioned the commissions would be a short term profit for Booking.com which could eventually be a significant long term loss for the company as 84 percent of hotels surveyed are reconsidering using Booking.com as a result of the new policy.


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