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Rules for online accommodation published

By Fan Feifei | chinadaily.com.cn | Updated: 2019-09-23 20:09
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A pedestrian passes by a brokerage in Xi'an, capital of Shaanxi province. [Photo provided to China Daily]

The country's first specifications for online accommodation platforms was released on Monday in Beijing, in an effort to improve online accommodation services, protect rights and interests of consumers and strengthen self-discipline of the platforms, according to the State Information Center.

Implementation of the specification will play a positive role in guiding the development of the vacation rental and homestay industry.

It has put forward specific requirements for platforms and providers, involving online accommodation services, basic behavioral norms, providing and reviewing of information, product information and display, booking services, online services management of providers, evaluation management, protection of users' rights, emergency response mechanisms, information security and privacy protection.

The standard will be applied to hotels, inns, homestays and other accommodation facilities that carry out online business activities.

The specification also defines main responsibilities of the platforms and their operators, in the aspects of information filling, review, and release, reservation and evaluation, and privacy protection.

According to the specification, the platform should establish an emergency assistance service mechanism. When users encounter accidents and emergencies, the platforms should provide emergency services related to accommodation.

China's vacation rental and homestay market, which clocked sales of 19.1 billion yuan ($2.68 billion) in 2018, is expected to surge this year. According to an earlier report from the State Information Center, the sector's revenue is expected to reach 50 billion yuan by 2020.

The SIC forecast that by 2020, the number of short-term tenants is likely to exceed 100 million and the number of short-term lodging facilities will exceed 6 million.

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