THE BURNING ISSUES OF 2017

What are the most important issues affecting the industry today? We put the question to Susanne Kraus Winkler – President of HOTREC…

We are living in difficult times of unclear future scenarios. Trump, Brexit, shifts of political power in different European countries, a very weak European Union with lacking perspective and growing populism, the refugee problem, the threat of terror attacks everywhere, a lot of dif cult uncertainties in the Mediterranean region in particular and in the whole European region in general, disruption through digitalization and technology innovations and so much more. In times like today we can only stay together closer, join forces and learn to be more flexible.

One of the biggest problems is the industry’s lack of skilled labour and the image of the industry in terms of working place. In Europe, it is also about high bureaucracy, which burdens the hospitality industry and it seems that also other sources are targeting us as e.g. accommodation is recently in the focus of ISO. Last but not least taxation is also one of the big issues, we are dealing with right now. It is of great importance, that the hospitality industry will be part of the reduced VAT scheme.

We are still facing a lot of challenges through digitalisation when it comes to distribution.

Rate parity clauses, unfair B2B practices, property rights etc. are issues we have to deal with to stay competitive and as free entrepreneurs.

The recent European online distribution study completed by HOTREC mid of 2016 well demonstrates the increasing dependency of hoteliers on online platforms. The share of booking via OTAs was gaining 3% to nearly 23%, the decrease of direct booking by 4% and the nearly zero competitive effect between platforms of the narrow parity clauses promoted by Booking.com show to the wrong direction.

ONLINE (…) SHOULD BE AS FREE, FAIR AND OPEN AS POSSIBLE FOR ALL STAKEHOLDERS.

Some countries like Germany, France, Austria or Turkey already reacted and banned those unfair parity clauses by law or competition authority decisions. We hope that the studies conducted by the national competition authorities in 10 EU countries will result in the ban of parity clauses and therefore boost the whole hotel distribution in all European countries.

The ban of rate parity clauses enable the hotels to offer their services at their own prices and conditions on their various distribution channels setting freedom of the accommodation provider.

HOTREC started its “Book Direct” campaign, to support their member associations and the hotels all over Europe to find their own way through today’s digitalized booking world challenges. Online will be the main distribution tool in the future, with a lot of new digital developments to come and therefore should be as free, fair and open as possible for all stakeholders.