The owners of a Cumbrian castle hotel have taken a stand against the global strength of online travel agents (OTAs) by launching the Fair Booking Movement to encourage travellers to book direct.
Simon and Wendy Bennett of the 15-bedroom Augill Castle in Kirkby Stephen, have created the Best Rooms Direct website in response to the monopolisation of hotel bookings by the OTAs, which they say take up to 25% commission from independent operators and often do not pay tax in the UK.
They believe that consumers will be able to receive the best available rates and rooms and personalised experience, as well as support the Britain's economy by booking directly with independent hotels, guesthouses and B&Bs.
More than 80 operators have already signed up to participate in Best Rooms Direct.
Wendy Bennett said that she hoped more hotels will join in order "to avoid a future choice limited to faceless, bland, corporate hotel chains" and "to raise awareness of the importance of direct booking".
"Global booking sites are monopolising the travel industry, taking a huge slice of our income and making it even harder for tourism businesses to stay afloat," she added.
"Britain prides itself on its individuality, history and character and its wealth of brilliant independent businesses contributes hugely to that. We're asking consumers and businesses across Britain to support our Fair Booking Movement and help to retain individual places to stay.
"Booking direct makes for a more personal experience for guests and a better chance of a future for independent businesses."
Best Rooms Direct links potential guests with accommodation providers and doesn't charge commission on bookings.
For further information and to support the Fair Booking Movement, go to www.bestroomsdirect.com.