Just when you thought no more confusion or intermediaries could be imposed on your travel, news from the US Senate (image below) focuses on the so called Traveler’s Bill of Rights. But, hold it right there! Is legislation always a negative where truth and correctness are concerned?
According to some online travel agencies (OTAs) legislation requiring the disclosure of potential health and safety risks associated with overseas travel such things as letting potential guest know if there is a doctor about the hotel, a nurse, maybe even some band-aids, may just be overly burdensome to hospitality altogether.
An article on Travel Blackboard quotes Joe Rubin, president of the Interactive Travel Services Association, as saying “the International Travelers Bill of Rights could put unwarranted fear in the minds of travelers, as well as impose a “significant” burden on hotels” – this via the Washington Post.
Granted, with travel agents, OTAs, hospitality management firms, and a herd of other “hangers on” already weighing down hotel profitability, having to have key-cards for rooms and pillowcases may be a burden these days. Not to sound too facetious, but hoteliers and travelers alike are suffering more from middle men than from government regulations. Imagine what airlines would be advertising and charging were it not for stiff fines. While it’s true some travelers may be confused or mistakenly alarmed by the “suggestion” dangers overseas are present, are hoteliers and all those associated not responsible – at best determined to supply travelers with the best intelligence for their trips?
If not, how can any OTA or hospitality entity forego the ensuing question, “if not your guest, who is important enough to appraise of health risks?” Answering this question wrong (which is what some OTAs may already be doing) is an obvious can of negative PR worms. Also in the Travel Blackboard article, American Hotel and Lodging Association spokeswoman Lisa Costello is suggested to have added;
…the bill failed to take into account the “complexities” of the hospitality industry…”
Sounding a bit more like a lawyer, and less like a hospitable personage, Costello seems overly concerned with a letting travelers know about State Department warnings about health and safety such as local doctors and even lifeguards. It’s not like this sort of information is impossible to get, now is it? All in all, the complaints being leveraged since legislators took on the airlines over passenger rights – they ring of corporate dogma and lobbying.
From a business standpoint these hospitality “experts” would be better served in lobbying for the elimination of hidden and unjust fees and commissions – maybe then hoteliers could afford to hire a lifeguard, even list he or she on their company website. Very soon the travel industry may become extremely polarized – the sides are taking shape now. Sometimes the end of things can be determined by motives, legislative action committees too, are political institutions, their goals sometimes simply leveraging.