IH&RA: To organize and monitor the activity of OTAs

IH&RA: To organize and monitor the activity of OTAs

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At the 2018 Barcelona Hospitality Forum, IH&RA, the Global association of Hotels and restaurants, was the co-organizer, with Ascame, of a Special Hospitality Symposium, during which the organization’s President, Dr. Ghassan Aidi addressed several issues that concern the hospitality industry.

With OTAs of the likes of Airbnb posing new challenges to hotels worldwide, Aidi proposed solutions such as selling rooms by the hours, allowing guests to enjoy a micro-stay at a hotel for an hour or more, to relax, work, sleep or dine from room service.

Hotels are already beginning to take advantage of this new revenue stream with rooms potentially rented several times over, offered at a rate much cheaper than the overnight rate. Some 3,000-4,000 hotels worldwide provide this service. Some of them offer guests an option to purchase a ‘credit card’ with 100 hours prepaid credit. Travelers vacationing with children find this as an inexpensive option compared to Airbnb.

Aidi also requested governments and municipalities to play their role and regulate the likes of Airbnb the same way they do with hotels. Hoteliers pay so much for the various licenses and taxes that Airbnb does not, he said. Airbnb lodging must be declared and registered within a city, which can either limit stays to a certain number of days or during a certain period or require the purchase of a nominal license and payments of fees to the government.

“France is a promising example,” Aidi continued. “The so-called Lemaire Law limits the stays to 120 days and regulates the automatic transmission of

income information, relevant fees and Social Security payments. Our Industry is the last barrier against the Poverty. We recruit, hire and train thousands of people every day, paying competitive wages. Every day ten new hotels are opened somewhere in the World,” he noted, underscoring the contribution the industry makes to local economies.

Aidi also spoke on the very high level of taxation that hoteliers are obliged to deal with every day. He requested government to reduce VAT rates to single digit rates, which would ease overall taxation and encourage investments.

In 2019, IH-RA will begin certifying hotels for sustainable development with its exclusive brand ‘Emeraude Hotels’. “We need to be united together to face this issue alone you cannot achieve full success but united together with IH-RA can archive success toward Government. IH-RA is happy to take on the role of defending the private sector of Hospitality from all threats doing that since 1859,” he concluded.

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