Cracking down on brand name “hijacking”

Bed and Breakfast sign.

The British Bed and Breakfast Association wants to crack down on “brand name hijacking” by online travel agencies.

The Association is supporting a petition to make it illegal for OTAs to bid on a B&B or hotel’s name on search engines.

The petition was started by BBA member Frank McCready, who said a clause is hidden in small print allowing OTAs to use accommodation provider’s names, negating the venue’s own websites and internet presence.

He claimed “it cannot be fair to use someone’s own name to divert customers. Such bidding should be by expressed mutual agreement only”.

“A lot of good B&Bs will go under,” said the petition.

The petition currently has just under 2,000 signatures and requires at least 10,000 for the government to respond. If it reaches 100,000 signatures, the petition will be considered for debate in parliament. The petition’s deadline is 6 September 2019.

David Weston, chairman of the BBA, showed his support for the petition.

“Profits have taken a big hit for accommodation owners, employers and risk-takers as the online intermediaries grab an ever-larger share of booking, and consequently prices have been driven up for consumers, and the OTAs have been hugely enriched,” said Weston.