AboutAnywhere.com has released a statement on backlash it has received from some agents regarding the business' practice of a commission-free model in booking hotels for customers. The business argues that the "high commissions hotels are required to pay Online Travel Agents (OTAs)" are unfair when "the customer knows where they want to go and which hotel they would like to stay in," instead of the customer never hearing of a hotel or remaining unfamiliar with the location to where they are traveling.
"The original intention of the travel agent commission was to compensate the agent for sending a customer to a particular hotel," the statement said. "That process evolved into customers referring to an OTA and searching for a list of hotels in any particular area and then proceeding to book their hotel stay... A hotel is required to pay 25 to 35 percent of its booking revenue in commissions to an OTA even if the customer had already decided that that specific hotel was the one they wanted to patronize but were unable to find the hotel's website in order to book directly. Though initially reluctant, hotels tolerate these high commissions simply because they just cannot compete with the exorbitant marketing budgets and team of Search Engine experts that the OTAs have the luxury of maintaining."
"We believe that travel agents are and will continue to be an essential element of the travel industry," said Ashwin Kamlani, CEO of AboutAnywhere.com. "AboutAnywhere.com's new commission free model is meant to connect customers who already know where they want to go and stay with the destination and hotel that they are looking for, without charging the hotel any commission."