The ongoing tussle over pending payments between city hoteliers and Oyo escalated on Thursday, with the hotel association giving the online and app-based booking platform ‘five days to clear all dues’.
On Tuesday, around 150 hoteliers from the city had gone to the Shivajinagar-based office of Oyo, but were unable to meet anyone there. Following this, they have decided to harden their stance.
The hoteliers claim they have a payment-sharing arrangement with Oyo, but the platform has not paid up its share.
“We have tried communicating with Oyo through calls, email, and written letters; and also by sending our representative to their office before this. However, they have ignored all our previous requests. We visited their office and were hoping to confront them but we were told that they are closed for the day. We staged a silent protest outside their office yesterday. Also we don’t wish to keep chasing them anymore for money that is legitimately owed to us. They have two days to reconcile the bank account statements and 5 days to settle our dues,” a press release issued by the Federation of Hotel & Restaurant Associations of India (FHRAI) on Wednesday said, quoting Vikram Shetty, executive member of Hotel and Restaurant Association (Western India).
“FHRAI stands by its members who have been deceived and exploited by Oyo. We are against Oyo’s unethical business practised through deep discounting of tariffs, predatory pricing, one-sided electronically generated contract, unilateral modification of contract with additional charges and other such issues,” said Gurbaxish Singh Kohli, Vice President, FHRAI.
When contacted, the spokesperson of OYO said the protest was instigated by groups with vested interests. “We are a customer-first company, and are proud of our ability to make good quality hotels available to consumers at the right price point, and will not bow down to the unreasonable demands of vested interest groups, a majority of which are owners running competing properties, instigating and intimidating independent asset owners associated with OYO, and creating false public uproar,” the statement read.
Calling it ‘occupational hazard’, the spokesperson pointed to the increase in revenue of their partners. “We believe in addressing all the concerns of our hotel owners one-on-one and have institutionalised several initiatives in the past few months to ensure success of our asset owners through business advances for infrastructure upgradation, timely payments, enhanced engagement and recognition. We will always think of our customers as our key stakeholders, while ensuring thousands of owners associated with OYO are continuing to grow with us,” the statement read.
Web-based reservation platforms have come under increasing fire by property owners, who have accused them of predatory practices. Last year, the FHRAI had taken a similar stand against two other platforms.