Booking.com, Paris and Hotels Join Against Airbnb

accommodation - Saigon/HCMC: May 18, 2016

On the eve of UEFA Euro 2016, Booking.com is cozying up next to the hotelkeepers of Paris in order to band together and fight off Airbnb from getting a sizable share of the hospitality market.

At a press conference organized by Booking.com, a member of GNI-Synhorcat - an independant organization of hotels, cafes, restaurants and more - expressed that despite some disagreement between them and Booking.com, the cooperation was necessary due to the “unfavorable” balance of power in regards to Airbnb.

After years of complaints about exorbitant fees they must endure, French hoteliers have eased their distaste for the Booking.com platform, accepting it as one of the key components for filling up their rooms. Booking.com arrived in France in 2001, and now offers over 54,000 accommodations and employs around 600 people in France. The OTA takes 16% commission (or more) from every room.

But hoteliers still express residual disapproval for the OTA giant. A recent post (in French) titled "Customers and Hotels are Now Under the Strict Control of Booking.com" has been reposted by GNI-Synhorcat, listing the latest complaints of hoteliers towards Booking.com. The OTA has made efforts in recent times to kindle a bond between itself and hotel professionals.

Booking.com is striving to strengthen communication between hotels and users. Last month, they announced a chat service that makes it easier for customers to speak directly with hotels throughout the guest’s visit. Booking.com plans to track the types of conversations that go through this service and eventually use this data to develop an in-house translation tool for the chat.

Photo: venturebeat.com

"Paris has been hit hard by the consequences of attacks between January and November 2015, we wanted to affirm our support by a special operation by promoting Paris with our 40 million subscribers," said Carlo Olejniczak, Booking.com’s director for activities in France, Spain and Portugal. Booking.com was among the first to support the #ParisWeLoveYou campaign launched by Alliance 46.2, which brings together tourism professionals.

Finally, to top it all off, the platform has signed a partnership with the Tourism Office of Paris, to offer strategic information on the status of reservations in the capital. "They will provide prospective data that will greatly enhance our analysis," said Nicolas Lefebvre, director of the Paris Tourism Office.

Paris City Hall has published online the list of housing units that abide by regulations, reported by the owners of these units. This has the aim for people to report to authorities anybody who does not follow renting regulations. Although Parisians are not very likely to freely practice name-calling, the announcement may deter renters from posting as much on Airbnb.

Guests in AIRBNB first underwater bedroom

Hotelier officials emphasize the emergence of illegal and clandestine accommodations. In fact, the rise of Airbnb is a serious threat to them. Shortly before the opening of the Euro 2016, the union of Booking.com, Paris and hotels against Airbnb is determined to deter thousands of fans from booking rooms in private homes.