Caribbean Hotels are reconsidering using Booking.com as a result of the OTA’s new commission policy which has been branded “regressive and punitive”.
The Caribbean Hotel and Tourism Association (CHTA) said an “overwhelming majority” of Caribbean hotels are considering a boycott over Booking.com’s policy to charge commission levied on staff tips.
In a letter to Booking.com, the CHTA cited “a strong negative backlash” from members particularly on how it cuts into employee tips and gratuities.
The CHTA said a survey of its 33 national hotel and tourism federation associations revealed a belief the policy was “regressive and punitive” adding to Booking.com’s revenue while reducing the profitability of the Caribbean tourism industry.
CHTA’s chief executive and director general Frank Comito said the commissions could result in rising prices as hotels attempt to recoup losses.
He said: “In a region where consumer price sensitivity and high operating costs are an ongoing challenge, this presents the industry with an added predicament”.
Comito warned commissions would be a short term profit for the online giant and could result in a loss for the company and that its survey found that 84% of hotels are reconsidering using Booking.com as a result of the new policy.
The region’s hotels have considered applying a ‘Booking.com Fee Surcharge’ to customer billings to recover the added costs unless the policy is removed or revised.
Comito added: “small-medium sized hotels, many in our region which are luxury properties, are already disadvantaged because of the marketing and buying power of hotel brands and major destinations.”
A statement from Booking.com said: “As an extension of our overarching aim to provide our customers with transparent information about the total price they will need to pay at a property when they make a booking and to create a level playing field for all of our accommodation partners, we are updating our process when it comes to charging commission only on mandatory extra fees – such as service fee or resort fee charged outside of the rate that customers are asked to pay at the property.”