Online Travel Agencies (OTAs)

Are Big OTAs Abusing Their Power? - Travel Weekly

Excerpt from Travel Weekly

The two global giants are not being fair to the consumer or to accommodation owners, argues David Weston, chairman of the UK B&B Association

What comes between a hotel or bed and breakfast (B&B) and its client? Not so long ago it could be a travel agent, who added value with their knowledge and took their 10%. Then online travel agents (OTAs) appeared – initially to do a similar job.

Now, though, OTAs are nobody’s ‘agent’. They don’t give the unbiased choice and transparent information consumers think they are getting, and they certainly don’t act as agent of the accommodation owner.

This is now an unequal and unfair relationship, at times verging on the abusive.
The two giant US OTA groups – Priceline, which owns Booking.com, Kayak and others, and Expedia, which owns Hotels.com, Trivago and other brands – have some 80% of the market.

The imbalance of power between these two and an independent hotel or B&B is extraordinary.
Our B&B members have no negotiation of terms with these global giants – it is ‘take it or leave it’, and what we have to take often seems unfair.

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