China on Monday published new standards governing online accommodation platforms and the hospitality providers registered with them, as the government seeks to enhance consumer rights in what it has historically seen as an unruly industry.
The rules, published by the government-affiliated State Information Center (SIC), require both platforms and providers to actively uphold the rights of their users. They also outline procedures for managing online reservations, handling reviews of accommodation providers, protecting user privacy, and coordinating emergency responses.
The new standards apply to both Booking.com-style online platforms as well as the hotels, inns, resorts, residential accommodation, and other lodging facilities hosted on them. They build on last year’s standards for shared accommodation services, which only regulated certain business sectors, said Yu Fengxiao, deputy head of the SIC’s sharing economy-focused research arm.
The value of China’s burgeoning online accommodation-booking industry is expected to hit 270 billion yuan ($38 billion) this year, according to market research firm iResearch. By 2020, the industry is expected to host more than 100 million short-term tenants in more than 6 million lodging facilities, state-owned newspaper China Daily reported Monday.