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David Weston • 1 week ago

A good news article, but I'm afraid nothing said by the ETTSA in the TW report or in the ETTSA's own opinion piece "refutes" any of our specific complaints, made formally to the competition watchdog (CMA) last week (and the subject of my TW opinion piece that the ETTSA is responding to here), including false "discounts", false availability statements, non-transparent and manipulated search rankings, and unfair restrictions on hotels' and B&Bs' freedom to discount to our own customers on our own websites.

We are very happy to see OTAs invest in great ways to help our members sell their products, and in turn take a substantial reward (typically 15-18%), but we are NOT happy with the specific practices we have complained about.

The arguments put here by the ETTSA, far from being a refutation of our points, simply ignore them and emphasise how much business the OTAs generate, and that dealing with them is voluntary; an unkind reader might interpret that as "deal with us as we are and take the business, or go away". (And just two groups have the lion's share of the market.) A long way from where these businesses started, as the "agents" of the hotel!

Our members are happy dealing with OTAs, when the relationship works as it should - but it is too much to ask to always do business fairly, honestly and transparently?