German hotels step up boycotts against online travel agency HRS
Thursday, March 15, 2012
A third call for boycott and second boycott hit the German online travel agency Hotel Reservation Service (HRS) this week. After a recent boycott against HRS in , a boycott in was next and is soon to be followed by the next round in Bremerhaven starting in the middle of March.
Hotels in the city of Bremerhaven already have to pay a new "bed tax" to the state ofof 2.14 per person per night, whilst HRS is trying to increase their commission payments for its service from thirteen to fifteen percent. Further criticism of HRS focused on a preferential treatment clause that denied hotels the right to offer better prices through any other booking channel. The European umbrella organization of the catering facilities had already criticized this type of clause and similar contract clauses in May 2011 in a position paper.
Piet Rothe, hotel owner and second chairman of the German Hotel and Restaurant Association (DEHOGA) Bremerhaven, explained that in his hotels the boycott hat not decreased bookings, merely shifted their volume to other channels such as, for instance, booking.com, who would only ask for twelve percent commission.
Rüdiger Magowsky, manager of the boarding house in Jaich, confirmed the observation that the volume of bookings had not decreased. Martin Seiffert, manager of the hotel Haverkamp, explained HRS had denied his hotel access to the system because he participated in the boycott. The access has been restored but he is considering participation in the next round of the boycott anyway.
On February 15 theof had ordered HRS in a not to enforce its preferential treatment clause. Already on February 10 the had admonished the company for violating §§ 1 and 20 of the German Act against Restraints of Competition.
Meanwhile Markus Luthe, the CEO of the German International Hotel Association (IHA), recommended establishing a "Hotelwiki" as a yellow pages directory of the hotel industry.
- Dominic Rahe. "Hoteliers boykottieren Internet-Portal HRS" — , March 14, 2012 (German)
- Raphaela Kwidzinski. "Hoteliers in Bremerhaven protestieren gegen HRS" — , March 12, 2012 (German)
- Press Release: "Bundeskartellamt examines HRS best price clause" — Federal Cartel Office (Germany), February 10, 2012
- Mariajose Vera and Julie Cruz. "German Regulator Says HRS Hotel Price Deals May Break Rules" — , February 10, 2012
- Susannne Stauß. "Hotelwiki soll Vermittlern Paroli bieten" — , February 8, 2012 (German)
- "www.hotrec.eu/cust/documentrequest.aspx?DocID=444" — , May 12, 2011