Accommodation owners unexcited for Expedia

By Chad Ingram

Published Nov. 15 2016

It seems a number of the county’s accommodators are opposed to the tourism department’s plans to add links to booking websites such as Expedia and Booking.com to the My Haliburton Highlands website.

Sunny Rock Bed and Breakfast owner Sally Moore a member of the Haliburton Highlands stakeholder tourism group who sits on the county’s tourism advisory committee told committee members during a Nov. 9 meeting that stakeholders are concerned about the revenue they’d lose with customers booking through the websites instead of directly with their businesses.
“Why would they want to take that 15 per cent by putting that button on there?” Moore said.

Booking websites typically collect a commission of 15 per cent.
While Moore said she personally uses the sites for bookings for her own business she said a number of accommodators – particularly the owners of smaller establishments – are worried about what the financial implications might be for them.
“The big guys are saying yeah it’s OK but the little guys . . . they’re just horrified” she said.

While Minden Hills Reeve Brent Devolin admitted he uses Expedia for most of his own travel bookings at this point in time “I get both sides of it” he said.
Devolin also pointed out that going back a number of years credit card companies took higher commission rates than they do today due to an increase in competition.
He wondered if commission rates might fall over time as some of the major travel sites receive more competition.

Moore said the majority of stakeholders are concerned about the situation and asked the county to hold off on adding the website links so she could bring back a full report on the subject.

Algonquin Highlands Reeve and County Warden Carol Moffatt urged to include not just stakeholder group members but other accommodators in the community as well.
“Not all of the businesses are actually tied up with the stakeholders’ [group]” said Moffatt who wanted to get a full picture of how many business owners would be upset by the concept. “Let’s do the right thing for the right reasons.”