UK hoteliers rethink relationships with ‘silent’ OTAs
Online travel agencies have made billions from the hotel industry, which has led hoteliers to ask where OTAs have been during the COVID-19 pandemic and what that says about the nature of partnerships.
Hoteliers say one channel has been almost completely absent during the COVID-19 pandemic—online travel agencies.
Oxsana Hospitality has created a quarterly action plan for members to use in their dealings with OTAs during the economic crisis, according to Chairman Al Malik, owner and managing director of Remarkable Hotels and a director of Best Western Hotels (Great Britain).
"The government is helping and brands and banks are making concessions, but OTAs have not said one word of kindness, and certainly offered no concessions. (OTAs) are a major stakeholder in this industry," Malik said. "I am not anti-OTA. I recognize they play a major part of our business, but while brands could do more, they have done a lot. OTAs? Nothing."
Thomas Magnuson, co-founder and CEO of Magnuson Hotels, said OTAs should have asked hoteliers how they could help at the start of the pandemic.
"OTAs are so big, public bodies, beholden to their shareholders," he said. "They are thinking if they give something away now, they are diluting their profit, so they are not giving anything away. OTAs need to forget that idea right now."