I got a forwarded message in our college group informing that travel planning apps MakeMyTrip and Goibibo have been banned and hotels are cancelling the customers coming through these two apps.
Here is the exact message "Please do not process any hotel or air bookings thru makemytrip and goibibo . These 2 sites are banned from today for any booking on hotels and the hotels are cancelling the customers coming thru this site.
Please inform all close ones ."
Even though the message claims that hotels are cancelling the bookings, it is asking people to avoid booking air tickets as well which is bit surprising. Along with the viral message, there is a paper cutting of Times of India which carries a report that 300 hoteliers won’t honour bookings from two portals from today. You can read the online version of the same report here.
The opening line of the report reads "Some 300 hoteliers in Ahmedabad have decided to boycott bookings from two online portals – MakeMyTrip and Goibibo – with effect from Saturday, December 1. A meeting of Hotels and Restaurants Association (HRA) – Gujarat was held in Ahmedabad on Friday to discuss the issue. Hoteliers have alleged that indiscriminate discounting offered by online portals has adversely impacted their business."
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When we searched for it online, we found that a very reputed fact-checking website Boomlive.in has already debunked this viral message. Boom Live spoke to a MakeMyTrip spokesperson who said that the platforms face no ban and they are honouring all bookings made by customers. “It came to our notice that there was misinformation being spread on social media about the ban on MakeMyTrip and Goibibo, those messages were not only false but they also urged people to share the same more widely for virality. We definitely won’t rule out if there was any malicious intent.”
To verify it, we also contacted MakeMyTrip customer care and got a very similar response.
BOOM also spoke to Narendra Somani – President of Hotel and Restaurant Associations (HRA), Gujarat, who said, “Originally when MakeMyTrip and Goibibo started they were charging 10 -15% commission. Slowly they started giving discounts from their pockets. Now they are charging a commission of 25 – 40%, from hoteliers. If one room is for Rs 1200 and a 40% commission is charged, how will the budget hotels survive? Our demand is that they charge reasonable commission and stop discounting”. Somani said that the dispute is yet to be resolved and around 300 budget hotels offered customers rooms at the same rate and asked them to cancel bookings on MakeMyTrip/ Goibibo. He added that other hotel associations across the country from Jaipur, Udaipur, Jamshedpur, Orissa, Kerala have pledged their support to HRA-Gujarat.
Since the boycott is restricted to Ahmedabad, Boom spoke to 5 different hotels of Ahmedabad and most of them said that they will accept the bookings from these portals but they agreed that there are some internal issues.
The Times of India's report was about Ahmedabad's hotels only. So, the viral message asking people to stop booking air tickets and hotels from MakeMyTrip and Goibibo is misleading.
MakeMyTrip has said that they have made sure that every single booking is honoured and have made all arrangements to deliver the bookings made on the platform, including alternate arrangements where needed.