The Guild of Travel Management Companies (GTMC) has launched an attack on the hotel industry's high-profile campaigns to promote direct selling.
Paul Wait, chief executive of the GTMC, said: "Hotel businesses may well have a distribution issue, but this is a challenge with online travel agents [OTAs] and not other channels. On behalf of travel management companies, we're asking hotels to be clearer about where their frustrations lie."
He said current tactics, which are "not distinguishing" between OTAs and TMCs, are "undermining" the B2B market, causing "significant dissatisfaction" with corporate buyers, and that hotels are "in danger of destroying their relationship" with TMCs.
"The hotel industry created a problem that led to the growth of OTAs and their constant undercutting of hotel website prices," he said. "As a way of competing with this, many hotel brands have added benefits and price advantages into direct sell channels only, without taking into consideration the impact on the B2B channel customers. Business travellers need to be valued too and not miss out on added-value incentives."
Wait added: "We're urgently calling for hotel brands to understand that not all distribution channels are the same, and that TMCs provide both a valuable service and important revenue. We urge hotels to consider a simpler method, such as reducing supply to the OTAs and taking a more specific and targeted action that does not affect the corporate buyer.
"Direct sell is not the only route to success for hotel businesses. In trying to reduce reliance on OTAs, hotels are being short-sighted in not embracing the other channels that often bring higher value rates. That just doesn't make good business sense."
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