Online travel agents Credit: Representational image

Gangtok: The Sikkim Hotel & Restaurant Association (SHRA), the apex body representing the hotels and restaurants of the state, has decided to support the call given by the Federation of Hotel & Restaurant Associations of India (FHRAI) and the Hotel & Restaurant Association of Eastern India (HRAEI) to close inventory for online travel agents (OTA) MakeMyTrip and Goibibo from January 16 onwards, indefinitely, till their concerns were addressed.

The FHRAI and HREAI, the parent association of SHRA, had in an official appeal requested all members not to honour bookings from the online portals from January 16 and had also requested to terminate their contract with them immediately.

However, guests who have made their bookings from the two portals later than January 16 should not be harassed and they should be given accommodation in the hotels, a press statement released by the SHRA said. However, the guest should be requested to make payments directly to the hotel, as the hotels have been requested to do, it added.

The SHRA had earlier officially written to OTAs over concerns raised by local hotels and even held meetings with them. However, there has been no official reply on the five points of concerns raised by them:

1. No coupon code discounting on hotels from OTAs

2. Commission level to be set at 15%

3. No performance-linked bonuses (PLB) without written consent of hotels and with exit clauses

4. Early check-in / Late check-out / Cancellation / Modification policies to be decided only by the hotel and not the online portals

5. Payments are to be more transparent with all payments to be made within 48 hours of a booking being made and not at the time of check-in.

Many other hotel associations all over India have accused OTAs, especially Goibibo & MakeMyTrip of charging exorbitant commissions, unfair accounting practices and unauthorised and further discounting of hotel prices set by hoteliers.

The movement to boycott the two online portals had gained momentum after the Ahmedabad Hotel Association raised the issue first and many other association across India supported the call later.

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