The Ministry of Tourism have formulated the guidelines for approval /re-approval of Online Travel Aggregators (OTA’s). These guidelines for approval /re-approval ofOTA’s have been devised to ensure that there are adequate safeguards against deficiency of service, alternate arrangements if needed and punitive deterrence. This is a voluntary scheme open to bonafide online travel aggregators to bring them on a common platform in the organized sector and the guidelines will be rolled out online by the end of December, 2018.
The scheme for approval / re-approval of OTAs will be rolled out on the online platform and all applications and fee payment will have to be made on the online platform. The scheme is expected to set standards towards accreditation and add value to the dependability and reliability to the aggregators in the online space operating in the organized tourism sector.
In the recent past, several Online Travel Aggregators (OTA) who are aggregating rooms in the various accommodation segments have emerged. The B&B / Homestay segment has always suffered from inadequate marketing owing to the small scale of business. The emergence of OTAs can galvanise this segment and emerge as a game changer.
AnOnline Travel Aggregator (OTA) is an intermediary / agent selling travel products and services such as the airlines, car rental, cruise lines, Hotels / Accommodation, railways and vacation packages on behalf of suppliers using internet as a medium. They establish an online market place and earn profits on the discounts commonly referred to as commission offered by the suppliers. In doing so, they may list the travel related service providers/agents or other service providers like hotels, homestays on its platform under its brand, connect the buyers with potential travel, hospitality and related service providers/ sellers on its platform under its brand, prescribe amenities and/or quality standards and influence the service providers to match the potential customer’s needs, enter into agreements with such service providers laying down benchmarks, standards, commission rates and other services required from such service providers.