Rostourism asks for social responsibility in exchange for cashback
Russian hotels and tour operators received a letter from the industry regulator “On deliberate overpricing” with a request in exchange for care from the state (cashback program) to show “social responsibility in matters of pricing policy.” An entrepreneur shared her thoughts on this matter. Ekaterina Tropova…
In the beginning there was a word
Syr-bor began with publications in the media, for example in Lente.ru, that Crimean hotels “massively” cancel pre-booked reservations in order to resell rooms at higher prices amid growing demand. However, a survey of market participants did not help to find documentary evidence or other obvious evidence of a truly large-scale tragedy. Experts note that there have indeed been isolated cases of booking cancellations, but even if you focus on the figures given in the media, then against the background of the total volume of tickets sold, they do not exceed the statistical error.
Moreover, if you look closely, the newsmaker in the publications that stirred up the market was the hotel booking service Tvil.ru with its data. He also works with the “private sector” and mini-hotels. At the same time, the published statistics produced an amazing effect: everyone seems to be aware that hotels and tour operators are reselling their services in shocking volumes at inflated prices, violating previous agreements, but none of the angry interlocutors can give a concrete example.
Although, however, the level of “default” also needs to be verified first, since in Russian hotels the practice of reserving rooms on the basis of an oral agreement between the hotel management and the tour operator is widespread. Of course, by violating such an agreement, the parties risk their own image and the future of this partnership, but in an atmosphere of a healthy economy, this has nothing to do with the state.
A double-edged document
In the document Rostourism it says the agency has received “a number” of complaints about “unreasonable price increases” for hotel services and unfair behavior of market participants. Therefore, on the one hand, such a letter is a fairly natural reaction. On the other hand, the text itself contains certain elements of manipulation and is addressed to a certain “list” of tour operators and hotels, including those not related to the “disgraceful” region and, probably, not noticed in any “deliberate overstatement” of prices.
Without denying that the state is obliged to monitor compliance with the agreements already reached by economic entities, including in the tourism industry, the very concept of “unjustified overpricing” in itself involuntarily refers us to the very foundations of economic theory and raises the question of who and to whom, in fact, owes “Justify” price increases in the now free, highly competitive market? Moreover, the document emphasizes that, according to the current legislation, there is still no state regulation of prices for tour operator and hotel services in the country.
Who owes the travel business?
If unilateral violations of the conditions agreed by partners when signing legally significant documents did take place, if they actually contain signs of violation of legislation in the field of consumer protection, then such manifestations, no doubt, should have consequences within the legal framework. But generalized reminders about a certain “social responsibility” of business are, to put it mildly, not serious, because it still remains on the conscience of entrepreneurs, and in fact there can be no obligation on this score for market players. No hotel or tour operator “by default” is obliged to save the tourist’s budget at the expense of their own profits.
Ownership may arise, but in the case when the state, under certain conditions, covers part of the costs of the business. As, for example, in the case of subsidizing knowingly unprofitable, but significant for the state, air transportation on local airlines. The airlines selected on a competitive basis calculate and defend economically justified tariffs before the state. At the same time, tickets are sold at low, “social” fares available to passengers. The state returns the difference between the economically justified and social tariff to the airline in the form of a subsidy.
We give you cashback, and what are you to us?
“Currently, a number of government support measures are being implemented to ensure the availability of domestic tourist destinations for citizens of the Russian Federation and to reduce the cost of travel (including“ tourist cashback ”). Under these conditions, the social responsibility of business in matters of pricing policy plays a key role, ”the letter of Rostourism says. However, cashback is not a direct measure of support – savings arise for the tourist, not for the tour operator or hotel. Not to mention the fact that “at the entrance” the business was not required to “freeze” prices in case of participation in the cashback program.
It is understandable that partners are dissatisfied with each other if one of the parties simply refuses to fulfill its obligations. But the general indignation of the form “why is it so expensive?” remains just words, especially when you consider that against the background of closed borders, hotels on the Black Sea coast of Russia are sold out for the whole summer ahead. And one must not at all like the economy and the free market in order to call the desire of the owners of private business to compensate for the losses of the last year “unfounded. On the contrary, it will be somewhat strange if a business suddenly starts selling at a ruble what it can sell at a hundred.
Work for an idea
Rostourism, for its part, proposes not to raise prices “in the name of the development of domestic tourism.” What, in the name of this bright idea, all the other parties owe the tourism business is silent.
And you certainly cannot suspect that there are no problems on the domestic tourism market that are worthy of the regulator’s attention. Rather, on the contrary, it is quite difficult to find a process in this system that runs smoothly. Problems are everywhere, from lack of infrastructure to complete and categorical disregard for legislation by a large number of travel service providers. And, again, while official accommodation facilities and licensed tour operators are listening to reproaches from Rosturizm, illegal immigrants of all sorts working in the black can easily act according to the laws of the market, since, for example, they are not a hotel at all, therefore, claims do not apply to them …