Hoteliers have accused OTAs of “behaving appallingly” by changing terms and conditions so bookings – including those that were non-refundable – are reimbursed, without cancellation charges.
At a time when hoteliers are fighting for the survival of their businesses, both Expedia and Booking.com have given greater flexibility to consumers with measures including abolishing cancellation charges and refunding pre-payments.
Emma Clark, who with husband Graeme runs the four-bedroom Glenegedale House on the Isle of Islay, Argyll, told The Caterer: “We’re trying to reduce every single cost we can – the lights are out, the fires are not on. We are looking at everything to reduce costs so we don’t lose our home and our business.”
The Clarks said their businesses simply “cannot withstand the terms and conditions”. The couple said they would have to prepare for arrivals knowing that if they do not turn up they will have to refund them. They added that they could not afford to cancel the bookings themselves as terms and conditions could see them required to pay for alternative accommodation and transport.
Chris Whyte, managing owner of the 24-bedroom, four-red-AA-starred Beechfield House in Beanacre, Wiltshire, said OTAs were “behaving appallingly”. He added: “They are trashing their so-called partners to protect themselves.”