Aussie entrepreneur Dick Smith is on a mission to expose online booking sites as “leeches” who are “extorting” millions of dollars out of Australian businesses.

In a Youtube video that’s now gone viral, Dick Smith accused sites such as Wotif, Trivago and Bookings.com as backing Aussie hotel owners against a wall, particularly those in country towns, and taking up to 30 percent of their sales off shore.

Using Port Douglas as an example, Smith said at least $180 million has been taken from the town’s accommodation owners over the past decade who need to sign up with these sites or risk “going broke”.

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“It just gets me so angry as an Australian, millions and millions of dollars that should stay in our country towns is being shipping off, and it’s like extortion because it’s not in a voluntary way.”

Dick Smith

Smith explained the ‘non-voluntary’ relationship with online booking engines, by claiming that they make it difficult for consumers to find the websites of family-owned businesses and then restrict hoteliers from price-beating by them online.

He said a deal between these online booking sites with the Australia Competition and Consumer Commission allows them to issue contracts to hoteliers and moteliers that prevent them from advertising cheaper deals than those available through the big booking engines.

“The ACCC has allowed contracts to state that the own family website will not advertise cheaper… how can that be in consumer interest? It just shows you the enormous power of these multi-nationals.”

Dick Smith

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For Aussies wanting to ensure their holiday money stays in Australia, Dick Smith recommended everyone avoid these “huge billionaire leech companies that are just sucking money out of family businesses in our country towns”.

He continued, saying that Aussies should get in touch with these small business owners and book directly through them.

“Don’t be conned… they’re not cheaper, that’s a lie.”

Dick Smith

Smith also recommended Australians support the Aussie Travel Agent “because they spend time going out and help you with your booking”.

Check out the video below:

 

What are your thoughts on the video?