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HOTREC calls again for fairer practices in Online Distribution at the European Tourism Forum

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HOTREC calls again for fairer practices in Online Distribution at the European Tourism Forum

Napoli/Brussels, 31 October 2014 – At today’s European Tourism Forum, where a specific panel discussion was held on Digitalization and Innovation in Tourism, HOTREC, the European association representing the European hospitality industry, presented its updated position on Fair Practices in Online Distribution. The proposed Benchmarks suggest solutions for a more transparent and balanced market environment, based on trustworthy review sites, booking portals or metasearch engines for the benefits of all market participants, especially for the guests.

The current Benchmarks (guidelines) have been elaborated by the members of HOTREC, as more and more hoteliers are concerned by their unfair treatment by intermediaries. The over 200.000 hotels and similar establishments across Europe (most of them micro, small and medium enterprises) find it often difficult to withstand the power of intermediaries in online distribution, and lose the control over their products. Moreover, they also face negative developments affecting the guests, which at the end are making use of the hotels’ services.

Many guests have already experienced pressure on booking portals like "Last chance! There is only 1 room available!” or "25 people looking at this hotel right now”. This practice should be stopped, especially as e.g. the information often only relates to the availability on that specific portal, but not for the hotel as such.

"As already more than one third of hotel rooms are booked online in Europe, fair practices in online distribution are getting more and more crucial for the hospitality industry, but for the guests as well”, stressed Markus Luthe, Chair of HOTREC’s Distribution Task Force in the European Tourism Forum. "We call our distribution partners to implement our proposals to the benefit of the guests, hoteliers and intermediaries.

With regard to hotel searches in general, organic search results for hotels and restaurants must have a fair chance to be displayed by search engines directly and not only via paid aggregators like OTAs, review sites or third party’s meta search engines.

"With regard to ongoing investigations across Europe in relation to parity clauses in the contracts between OTAs and hotels, hoteliers are striving for regaining control over their inventory, one of the key demands in the proposed Benchmarks” – added Christian de Barrin, CEO of HOTREC.

What is HOTREC?

HOTREC represents the hotel, restaurant and café industry at European level. This industry includes around 1,8 million

businesses, of which 99% are small and medium sized enterprises (91% of them micro enterprises, i.e. employing fewer

than 10 people). These businesses make up some 59% of industry value added. The hospitality industry provides some

10.2 million jobs in the EU alone. Together with the other tourism industries, the sector is one of the largest industries

in Europe. HOTREC brings together 42 national associations representing the sector in 27 different European countries.

For further information:

PRESS CONTACT: Daniel Makay, Public Affairs Manager, +32(0)2 513 63 23,