The trade association for the hotel booking agency, apartment and venue community, has supported the Guild of Travel Management Companies (GTMC's) criticism of hotel direct booking campaigns.
The GTMC launched an attack on the hotel industry's high-profile campaigns to promote direct selling last week, saying current tactics were "undermining" the B2B market, causing "significant dissatisfaction" with corporate buyers, and said hotels were "in danger of destroying their relationship" with TMCs.
Booking agency association the HBAA supported the claimed and said that hotels were creating confusion by promoting benefits for travellers who choose to book direct. It urged hotel suppliers to recognise that hotel booking agencies and TMCs deliver valuable business through extremely cost effective channels when compared to OTAs.
It also advised them to reposition their offering, to allow agencies access to the same terms when booking on behalf of their customers.
Juliet Price, consultant executive director for the HBAA said: "Our own agency members are similarly frustrated by the impact that this approach is having in the B2B marketplace. Whilst understanding that the hotels' efforts to encourage and entice direct bookings are aimed at those using OTAs, this strategy significantly undermines the value and advantages that the traditional agency sales channel delivers, as well as causing confusion for customers and corporate procurement."
Adam Woods, head of strategic relationships at Priority, an event planning and corporate hotel accommodation company, said: "Clients are concerned that not only does the ‘book direct' message directly challenge their travel and expense policies which are implemented to provide duty of care to employees both financially and in case of incident, but also the compliance issues of loyalty schemes where incentives can have implications for the company paying the bill."
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