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12 Sep, 2019

Minor Corp Chairman Bill Heinecke challenges value of “disruptive” technologies

Bangkok – Mr William Heinecke, Chairman and CEO of Bangkok-based Minor Corporation, has raised some serious questions about the growing influence and impact of OTAs, ride-sharing services and other “disruptive” technologies that the travel & tourism industry is going ga-ga about.

Speaking at the Thailand Focus 2019 Forum organised by the Stock Exchange of Thailand on Aug 29, Mr Heinecke, one of the Asia-Pacific region’s most prominent hospitality sector investors and entrepreneurs, said the OTAs and home-sharing services such as Airbnb are making more money than the hotel owners, have invested nothing in bricks and mortar, and face no accountability over where they pay their taxes.

His remarks are sure to “disrupt” the agendas of travel technobabble forums, nearly all of which are sponsored by the same corporations Mr Heinecke is taking to task, and hence ignore these issues.

In some countries, he said, ride-sharing services such as Uber are “basically illegal”. Security issues also emerge as people who stay in Airbnb units do not have to produce any ID upon registration. Nor do they have to abide by any of the local building regulations such as fire-safety.

He questioned how much of an economic impact they really have in terms of generating new business, as against just taking business away from existing owners and operators.

I later asked Mr Heinecke to elaborate on his remarks. He asked me to email him the questions. I did. His responses are being published here in full. Click on the image below to download.