Aunty supports direct bookings and end to rate parity

ABC’s “The Checkout” has come out firmly advocating for an end to rate parity and encouraging travellers to check with accommodation providers to ensure they get the best rate on rooms.

The segment, which aired recently addresses the vast majority of issues raised by the Accommodation Association of Australia and other industry commentators in recent years relating to rate parity, the effect of the Wotif – Expedia merger and advantages of booking direct. “The Checkout” has done an excellent job covering not only the issues at hand but briefly addressing the history and impact of the OTA growth and expansion.

The core issues of rate parity are highlighted in light of Germany and France banning rate parity clauses with the segment describing claims of OTA best rate guarantees as “ballsy” in the face of these clauses. Reiterating the German position that “best-price clauses still limit competition between existing portals as well as competition between the hotels…” it is then demonstrated how true this is with the programs own investigation showing a saving of up to 25% on their own enquiries by booking direct. They have also clearly called out for an end to rate parity clauses saying “they suck” and appealing to the ACCC appealing that “we really hope you ban them here too.”

The program also goes on to promote that the use of OTA’s is not all bad and have “some benefits” given the capacity to package up travel components such as flights and car hire and the availability of hot deals. Further advice for consumers in using OTA’s includes dealing with complaints and issues related with bookings placing the resolution firmly with the OTA saying “don’t let them fob you off to the hotel”. 

This is a concise reflection of a major industry concern presented by the ABC and outlines well the issues the Accommodation Association of Australia has raised for some time in regard to the consumer experience with OTA’s. The Association is encouraging the industry to use this as a positive education piece for consumers by distributing and sharing the video through their networks and social media with hashtag #Bookdirecttosave.

fun video

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