HOTREC, the European association of hotels, restaurants and cafes has filed four community objections with the ICC.
They’re concerned about several of the “closed generic” applications for .hotel and derivatives of the string. With that in mind they’ve filed against the following:
Application # 1-1016-75482 for HOTELS by Booking.com B.V.
Application # 1-1249-36568 for HOTEL by Despegar Online SRL
Application # 1-1249-87712 for HOTEIS by Despegar Online SRL
Application # 1-1249-1940 for HOTELES by Despegar Online SRL
In a letter to ALAC’s chair,Olivier Crépin-Leblond, Mr Kent Nyström outlined the group’s concerns and urged ALAC to lodge objections too. Unfortunately the deadline for ALAC’s objections has already passed.
Here’s the letter’s text:
Dear Mister Olivier Crepin-Leblond,
HOTREC is a non-profit international association headquartered in Brussels (Belgium) which brings together 44 national
associations representing the interests of the hospitality industry in 27 European countries. HOTREC acts, therefore, as
the voice of hotels, restaurants, cafés and similar establishments in the European policy decision-making and before
The European hotel industry consists of about 200.000 hotels employing approximately 2 million people, representing
respectively 4.4% of total employment in Europe and around 5% of EU GDP (hotels, restaurants and cafés).
As there is a substantial opposition against the closed generic applications for HOTEL, HOTELS, HOTEIS and
HOTELES from a significant portion of the hotel industry community, HOTREC has filed before the ICC four (4) formal
“community” objections against the applications identified below:
– Application # 1-1016-75482 for HOTELS by Booking.com B.V.
– Application # 1-1249-36568 for HOTEL by Despegar Online SRL
– Application # 1-1249-87712 for HOTEIS by Despegar Online SRL
– Application # 1-1249-1940 for HOTELES by Despegar Online SRL
HOTREC would like to warn ALAC members about the serious risks and detrimental implications associated with the
closed applications filed by the online travel agencies Booking.com B.V. (“Booking”) and Despegar Online SRL
(“Despegar”) for the generic terms HOTELS, HOTEL, HOTEIS (i.e., hotels in Portuguese) and HOTELES (i.e., hotels in
Spanish). Both Booking and Despegar (the “Applicants”) claim holding a significant market share and have structured
their application on a closed registry model.
More specifically, it is noted that the Applicants have formally stated in their application that they will be the sole
possible registrants for second-level domains. The scheme proposed by the Applicants therefore excludes the hotel
community from these new TLDs and establishes the Applicant’s clear intent to use and maximize the opportunity
offered by these generic TLDs to their own and sole benefit, in a manner that would undoubtedly be highly detrimental
to the hotel industry worldwide since actual hotel operators would then be unable to register their trademarks and/or
other strings within these TLDs.
It clearly appears from these statements that the Applicants’ intentions are to operate the HOTELs TLDs for their
exclusive commercial benefit, regardless of the rights of third parties, including trademark owners.
In addition, the assignment to one single player (which in addition is not a hotel operator but acts as an intermediary
between hotels and clients) of a generic term referring to a particular industry would necessarily lead to establishing a
monopoly by excluding the direct and indirect competitors.
This monopoly will result in a distortion of competition between online reservation platforms, by allowing the Applicants
to choose which hotels will be offered a domain name under their TLDs and to dictate their commercial conditions to
partners and hotel stakeholders. Use of third party trademarks and commercial names by the Applicants will also lead to
consumer confusion at best, misappropriation of client at worst.
The market advantages obtained from controlling closed generic TLDs will not only create steep barriers against entry
for others in the hotel industry, but it also will ultimately harm the interests of consumers in that market.
In this respect, HOTREC is already working closely with designated ministries (foreign affairs, industry and tourism)
from various countries, as well as with the broader hotel sector, to raise awareness of the risks for consumers due to
these closed applications. The governments of France and Germany in particular have already given their support to
Therefore, HOTREC urges the ALAC members not to allow the Applicants to establish a closed registry that will
reduce competition and consumer choice, contrary to free trade principles and ICANN’s goal of increased
competition in connection with the new gTLDs.
HOTREC is of course prepared to meet ALAC members should they wish to obtain further clarifications or information
on the significant risks and detrimental implications associated with the above mentioned applications