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Keeping On-Line Travel Legal

Bali Hotel and Restaurant Association Want Hotels to Cooperate in Regulating Unlicensed On-Line Travel Agents

(2/22/2013) As part of ongoing efforts to regulate illegal travel agents in Bali, the vice-chairman of the Bali Chapter of Indonesian Hotel and Restaurant Association (PHRI-Bali), Nyoman Suwidjana, says complete data from hotels in Bali is needed to catalog all the online travel agents (OTAs) currently working with Bali hotels.

Suwidjana insists that the member hotels of PHRI should readily and happily provide this information when asked by the government or associaitions.

Quoted by Bisnis Bali, Suwidjana said on Tuesday, February 19, 2013, that in principle all travel agents cooperating with hotels in Bali must be licensed. The holding of the valid licenses by travel agents, he said, means the subject travel agent is acting responsibly, including their on-line sales practices.

According to Suwidjana, on-line travel agency transactions have their own share of strengths and weaknesses. The hotels generally receive orders for rooms from on-line travel agents with, in many cases, the customer paying directly to the hotel. This removes the need for hotels to collect money from travel agents.

Among the weaknesses, the on-line travel agent are often unable to guarantee their bookings, while hotels have difficulties charging “no-show” fees when guest fail to materialize. He also contends that on-line travel agents can be guilty of “double booking” as a means to block rooms for sale to their clients.

Nyoman Suwidjana said on-line travel agents in Bali must become member of the Indonesian Association of Travel Agents (ASITA), urging, in turn, that ASITA consider opening a special on-line division.