A petition calling for OTAs to be banned from “hijacking” the names of hotels and B&Bs on search engines has received more than 1,000 signatures.
The petition accuses large online agents of taking out adverts so search engine inquiries are diverted to their websites.
The author says this should be “illegal without a specific separate arrangement”.
Frank McCready, who posted the petition, which will be live for six months, wrote: “As a small B&B I cannot compete with the billions that OTAs spend on web searches and am deprived of direct clients by this practice and forced to pay high commissions (15% to 25%), which ultimately of necessity are passed to consumers.
“The clause hidden in small print allowing OTAs to use our names negates our own websites and internet presence and it cannot be fair to use someone’s own name to divert customers. Such bidding should be by express mutual agreement only. A lot of good B&Bs will go under.”
If the petition receives 10,000 signatures the government will respond. If it gains 100,000 signatures the matter will be considered for debate in parliament.
Last month the Competition and Markets Authority set out its dos and don’ts for hotel booking sites after announcing a crackdown on ‘unacceptable’ practices.
The principles address issues such as failure to disclose the effect of payments on search results, misleading reference prices, misleading presentation of prices and misleading popularity and availability statements.
To view the petition click here.