A report this week from UK-based Sawday’s reveals a new challenge facing some travel businesses, with owners of small, independent businesses revealing they feel increasingly marginalised, and treated merely as ‘providers of inventory’.

While the OTAs play a vital role in securing bookings, some owners feel squeezed and exploited to the point of quitting. In the UK, over 80% of self-catering owners use at least one of the major OTAs, with 49% of owners seeing them as a necessary evil. Only 6% of those surveyed wanted OTAs to manage the entire guest booking on their behalf.

Among the challenges are restrictive contracts that demand high commissions, discounted prices and ownership of the customer relationship, and the search dominance of Google favouring its biggest advertisers is another troubling issue.

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