As we reported on Travel Agent Central earlier this year, AboutAnywhere.com has been creating quite the backlash amongst the agent community regarding the business' practice of a commission-free model in booking hotels for customers. And it appears as though the backlash could get worse. But who should it be geared toward? Can agents fault AboutAnywhere.com for the practice or the hotels that are partnering with it?
Most recently Barcelo Hotels & Resorts, which Travel Agent has always deemed as an agent-friendly resort, partnered with the site. Barcelo Hotels & Resorts and AboutAnywhere.com have entered into a strategic partnership for online distribution in the Americas.
Comments in a written statement by Miquel Moya, director of custumer relationship and ecommerce for Barcelo, blame the economy for essentially turning its back on agents. "We approached AboutAnywhere.com after reading about their new commission-free model in the press,” he said. “The model just makes sense for the industry and is long overdue. The timing with the economy is just perfect as we are definitely looking for ways to reduce distribution costs.”
So who is to blame for this attempt to eliminate you, the middle man, the travel agent from the hotel booking process? Is its the site or is it the hotels who join it?