Message from the CEO, Richard Munro
A big year growing the Accommodation Association of Australia (AAoA)
The AAoA has just had a stellar year of growth driven by our members wanting to gain access to more information and understand our advocacy agenda, the benefits and services that AAoA provides.
We have been working hard on the issues our members want us to improve, based on feedback we have received through surveys and directly in forums and digital media.
The number one priority that continues to come through is issues around rate parity and the terms and conditions that the OTA’s operate with the suppliers of accommodation. The second biggest issue according to the annual survey (the 2019 annual industry survey will be mailed to you shortly) was non-compliant accommodation, or the impact of Airbnb.
The AAoA has worked tirelessly on both of these issues with a decision pending from the ACCC on rate parity clauses and unfair contracts. The Chairman of the ACCC, Mr Rod Simms has advised that the new legislation passed in 2017, “The Misuse of Market Power Bill”, would be the law being used to ascertain if the OTA’s are allegedly operating in a manner that is in fact a misuse of market power by lessening competition.
We know that the ACCC has moved on a case against Trivago alleging that it made misleading hotel pricing representations in its television advertising and website, in breach of the Australian Consumer Law. “Based on Trivago’s highlighted price display on its website, we allege that consumers may have formed the incorrect impression that Trivago’s highlighted deals were the best price they could get at a particular hotel, when that was not the case. Trivago based its rankings on the highest cost per click it would receive from its advertisers,” ACCC Chair Rod Sims said. He went on to say, “we are very concerned that such platforms convey an impression that their services are designed to benefit consumers, when in fact listings are based on which supplier pays the most to the platform.” So we wait on the ACCC to move on this. The AAOA have also informed the Federal Government and the Opposition who are considering options if the ACCC do not take action soon and we will continue to work with them on your behalf.
This year we held over 40 events, providing our members with market information and insights that could not be gained anywhere else but at these events. We travelled to your city or town and provided critical STR data and updates on industrial relations and the economic outlook. We intend to continue these important information sessions and you are welcome to contact us if you would like to participate or even host an event,
please contact us
The other initiatives that we rolled out in 2017-18 were our new State Advisory Boards, in NSW, QLD and VIC as well as our National Advisory Board of Employment (NABE), charged with moving the needle on the availability of employees and the quality and skills that we need to man our industry, working closely with the AAoA Academy. I wish to thank the Chairs of these Boards Mark Hodge – QLD, Pat Lonergan – NSW, Adrian Williams – VIC and David Mansfield for Chairing the NABE. We have set up two other committees for an Energy Buying Group and a Direct Booking Taskforce that are working on those critical issues, advising the National AAoA Board.
The National Board held the AGM and Julian Clark was re-elected as President, Simon McGrath as Deputy President and Bruce Copland as Treasurer. We also welcome Mr Ramy Filo, President of the Australian Timeshare and Holiday Ownership Council who AAoA has formed an Alliance with to grow our industry.
We welcomed new staff who joined us in 2018 - Janet O’Brien, Membership Development Officer; Nina Pogossov, Administration Manager; Sophia Habib and Gillian Horne in Administration.
Thank you to all of the members, sponsors, staff and Directors who supported our work in 2018. Watch out for some new developments in 2019, including a new website, members blog and more – it pays to be a member.