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ICANN - FHE "Public Comment" on “Closed Generic” gTLD applications for .hotel(s)

  • To: "comments-gac-safeguard-advice-23apr13@xxxxxxxxx" <comments-gac-safeguard-advice-23apr13@xxxxxxxxx>
  • Subject: ICANN - FHE "Public Comment" on “Closed Generic” gTLD applications for .hotel(s)
  • From: Julie Besse <Julie.Besse@xxxxxxx>
  • Date: Mon, 13 May 2013 17:19:26 +0000

Public Comment on “New gTLD Board Committee Consideration of GAC Safeguard 

1.     FHE (French Hospitality in Europe) regroups the five French associations 
(CPIH, FAGIHT, GNC, SYNHORCAT and UMIH) representing the hospitality industry 
in France, i.e. all the professionals of the Hotels Restaurants and Cafés 
sector belonging to a trade union. France is the major tourism destination in 
the world (and in Europe), with 200 million visitors in 2011, including 81 
million tourists.

2.     On 23 April 2013, Icann opened a comment on “New gTLD Board Committee 
Consideration of GAC Safeguard Advice”, in order to solicit input on how the 
New gTLD Board Committee should address GAC advice regarding safeguards 
applicable to broad categories of New gTLD strings.

3.     In this respect, FHE publicly reasserts its opposition to the 
applications of OTAs (Online Travel Agencies) based on a “Closed Registry” 
model, for .hotel (application #1-1249-36568 by Despegar Online SRL), .hotels 
(application #1-1016-75482 by Booking.com B.V.), .hoteis (application 
#1-1249-87712 by Despegar Online SRL), and .hoteles (application #1-1249-1940 
by Despegar Online SRL).

4.     FHE supports the GAC in this approach aiming to avoid the establishing 
of monopolies and ultimately protect consumer interests.

5.     FHE considers that restricting the use of a common generic term relating 
to a market sector such as “hotel” to the exclusive benefit of OTAs could have 
unintended consequences, including a negative impact on competition, but also 
would be detrimental to the global Internet community, hotels and their 

6.     Indeed, the “Closed Registry” applicants seek to capture the sole use of 
these generic terms for their own business. If the hotel(s) TLDs were delegated 
to the applicants, OTAs would control and prevent others from registering 
domain names within a string representing their own economic sector, thus 
leading to a monopoly on the online reservation market, on each and every 
booking transaction.

7.     According to the economic studies from Google/Ipsos MediaCT and the 
Institute of Tourism, University of Applied Sciences of Western Switzerland, 
about 50% of online reservations are done through OTAs . As there is little 
doubt that Search Engine Optimization (SEO) mechanisms will favor meaningful 
TLDs, the operation by the applicants of the hotel(s) TLDs would exclude de 
facto domains not in the hotel(s) TLDs namespace from the first results of 
search engines. As a result, a 100% market share to the benefit of a single 
stakeholder will replace 50% market share of the online reservations by OTAs, 
with dramatic economic consequences for the Hotel Community members.

8.     On top of operating counterfeit trademarks and encouraging unfair 
competition practice, since competitors and non-affiliated entities will be 
excluded from the hotel(s) TLDs, Internet users will be automatically 
redirected to a limited choice of hotels in accordance with the applicants’ 
interests, and so may be deceived.

9.     In addition, with a monopoly on the hotel(s) TLDs, the applicants will 
be in a position to dictate their commercial conditions to their business 
partners and prevent access to the namespace to those who are not business 

10.  And last, the combination of market advantages from control of the 
hotel(s) TLDs may create steep barriers to entry for others in the hotel 
industry and will ultimately harm the interests of consumers in that market.

11.  Like the French Government and the long list of opponents, FHE is 
convinced that allowing “Closed Generic” gTLD applications will be a source of 
distortion of competition and consumer misleading. The Affirmation of 
Commitments defines the ICANN objectives which include promoting competition, 
consumer trust and consumer choice. Allowing “Closed Generic” gTLD applications 
will produce the exact opposite effect.

12.  FHE urges the ICANN to implement the GAC Advice safeguards and to forbid 
any “Closed Generic” gTLD application for a generic term.

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