An “overwhelming majority” of Caribbean hotels are reconsidering using Booking.com as a result of the new commission policy, according to the Caribbean Hotel & Tourism Association.
The organisation claims the new policy is aimed at generating additional revenue for the online giant at the expense of consumers.
Commissions levied on staff tips by the online travel agency Booking.com have been assailed by the CHTA as “grossly unfair” and the trade association has called for the immediate discontinuance of the policy.
In a letter to Booking.com, CHTA cited “a strong negative backlash” from members particularly how it cuts into employee tips and gratuities.
CHTA pointed to a recent survey of its 33 national hotel and tourism federations revealed a belief the commission policy was “regressive and punitive”.
CHTA chief executive, Frank Comito, added the commissions would directly affect travellers because some of the higher costs associated with additional payments to Booking.com will need to be shared by the traveling public, as some hotels seek to recoup losses by raising prices.
“In a region where consumer price sensitivity and high operating costs are an ongoing challenge, this presents the industry with an added predicament,” Comito stated.
He also cautioned the commissions would be a short-term profit for Booking.com which could eventually be a significant long-term loss for the company as 84 per cent of hotels surveyed are reconsidering using Booking.com as a result of the new policy.
Citing trade media reports that certain areas of the world or major brands might be exempted from the Booking.com commission policy, CHTA reminded “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”.