**To stream the recorded discussion, please click the video below**
There has been a lot of discussion around a possible ban of Booking.com's rate parity. The investigations involved authorities in France, Sweden and Italy. Germany also has a Booking.com and Expedia investigation about best-price clauses, after they were ruled against for another company.
Although these investigations are centered around hotels, they have obvious consequences to the hostel industry as well.
Four members of the HostelManagement community participated in a 'Think Tank' over this topic January 8th.
This was a more informal talk than our past Panel Discussions; more of a round-table, fireside chat than an interview. The discussion introduced some ideas for specific immediate actions hostels can take to improve the booking situation and rate parity:
- By January 30th, send your written comments to the French, Swedish and Italian competitive authorities, who are investigating the booking.com rate parity antitrust case.
The outcome of their investigations will affect the future European regulations and may set precedence for future regulatory rate parity changes in other parts of the world.
Write about how rate parity affects your business (it limits your competitive freedom) and especially effects the end-consumers (travelers) with unnecessary high prices. You find the contact information here:
- Talk to your local hotel associations: The hotels are the ones who facilitated the antitrust case against booking.com and are strongly advocating for a complete ban of rate parity clauses.
- Have instant booking widgets on your website; investing in a good, easy-to-use-and-book hostel website makes it more attractive for your guests to make direct bookings, when they search for you.
- Consider registering your hostel trademark and contact Google asking them to prevent trademark infringement from OTAs (meaning your trademark may be protected from OTAs bidding on the name use in their advertisement headlines in Google AdWords).
- Connect with or try organize a local hostel association; knowing your colleagues in the industry and joining forces together can improve your business environment and make a positive difference
- As a network and community of hostel managers and owners, we can be on the offense and not just defense, improving our circumstances and opportunities by proactively sharing ideas and try different initiatives.
The participants in the Think Tank discussion was:
John Moriarty: Dunloe View Hostel, Ireland
Maoz Inon: Abraham Hostel, Israel
Michael Lottes: Backpacker Network Germany
Brian Gerisch: Transylvania Hostel, Romania
For more background info on the rate parity issue, see the forum thread below (scroll down to the post on Dec. 16th from Jay to see where the info relevant to this discussion starts):