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Online agents ‘too aggressive ‘, backpacker hotels claim

July 18, 2013 Headline News, OTA News No Comments Email Email

egtmedia59Australian backpacker properties are objecting to the terms they say are being demanded by some online travel agents.

Backpacker Operators Association New South Wales (BOA NSW), the industry body of the NSW youth and adventure industry, gathered its members together to discuss alleged “aggressive contracting terms” being proposed by online travel agents. Mystic-Place-Bangkok-www.mysticbangkokhotel

The meeting stemmed from proposed introduction of new contract clauses.

It was alleged that these included:

  • Requesting access to all online hostel inventory and rates including own website;
  • A change in definition of service fee in regard to GST;
  • Consent for use of propriety owned trademarks and brands. 

BOA NSW secretary Robert Henke said many different hostel operators had attended the meeting, with over 13,000 hostel beds represented.

“The Backpacker Operators Association is here to support its members and ensure their voice is heard. These raised much cause for concern for small, medium and large hostel operators.”

Henke said hostel owners felt they were “steadily losing control of their inventory, pricing and marketing due to rising commissions and ongoing demands” from various OTAs, with one OTA in particular, a large international concern which claims to represent about 35,000 properties throughout the world, being repeatedly named.

Meanwhile, on another front, BOA NSW’s “Dob in an Illegal Hostel” campaign continues. It aims to stamp out unauthorised backpacker accommodation, which BOA says damages Australia’s reputation as a safe, quality backpacker destination.

“In many cases, illegitimate operations place travellers at risk through unhygienic, overcrowded premises which don’t adhere to fire or other safety regulations,” BOA’s website states.

“Suspect an unauthorised backpacker is operating in your area? Then dob ’em in.” BOA  NSW’s website includes a “dobbing in” form for members to fill in, so that BOA can request the local council investigate the suspected premises.

Edited by : William Sykes

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