With the Washington DC council slated to take a final vote today on increasing hotel taxes for online travel sellers, major online travel agencies have been running a radio spot to drum up grassroots opposition to the measure.
The radio ad, paid for by the Interactive Travel Services Association, the OTA and GDS trade group, takes the view that forcing OTAs to pay tax on hotel room retail rates, instead of net rates, would hurt tourism and kill jobs.
ITSA has waged lobbying battles at the local level across the country to fight attempts to mandate that the OTAs pay a higher share of hotel taxes, but a radio spot isn't necessarily part of most campaigns.
The council preliminarily voted several weeks ago to place the measure on today's agenda, with some members arguing that the OTAs need to remit their fair share of hotel taxes.
Here's the text of the ad, which features a hotel porter, housekeeper, guest and restaurant host:
Narrator: Go to any hotel or restaurant in Washington. You’ll see really hard working people.
Porter: Welcome to our hotel, sir. Need a hand with that bag?
Housekeeping staff: Housekeeping. May I help you?
Restaurant host: So glad you could make it. Right this way to your table.
Narrator: From the porters who get visitors’ bags, to the staff cleaning the rooms, to the people at the restaurant – they are all working hard. But while they are working this holiday season to take care of our visitors, the DC City Council is working to put these employees out of work. The DC Council wants to raise city hotel booking taxes. This will mean fewer tourists and fewer jobs. If this tax passes, DC will lose good jobs – jobs with decent wages and benefits, the kind of jobs we need now more than ever.
Guest: Thank you. You’ve taken good care of us.
Porter: Safe travels now—and have a great holiday.
Narrator: Don’t let the DC City Council put more people out of work this holiday season. Tell your Council Member we need to create jobs, not destroy them. Vote no on the job-killing hotel booking tax.
Voiceover: …Paid for by the Interactive Travel Services Association.