Since 26 July, the media in Hungary have been keeping the issue of Booking’s delayed payments in the headlines, putting the company under considerable pressure. Unfortunately, readers and even some members of the industry questioned the veracity of the problem and after the investigation of the MTÜ (Hungarian Tourism Agency) and the GVH (Hungarian Competition Authority), they started to talk about a political game, saying that if there really was a Booking scandal, the international press would have reported it. Although, with a significant delay, they did.
At the forefront with the BBC, the international press has also started to deal with the details of the Booking scandal, which was long overdue.
We did not actually understand why the issue had not been addressed before. Hungarian readers, who tends to be sceptical, and those not sympathetic to the government have started to express opinions that it is just government discrediting, and, as usual, they created an enemy, who now became the Booking.
Considering the fact, that it was me who wrote about this matter first, I strongly refute the assumption of government discrediting. I am not a politician but a tourism specialist, managing a professional portal in tourism and it is common for topics to start their way on Spabook.
In addition, government discrediting is also not an option as neither the BBC nor the Schengenvisainfo, the official tourism website of the EU can be considered old friends of the Hungarian government, and they also reported on the issue.
The following newspapers have covered the Booking scandal so far.
Although the matter did not make the headlines, it has swept across the world.
- The Dutch RTL
- The New Zealand Herald
- The Swedish Expressen
- The Swedish Bohusläningen
- The British “The Sun”
- The British BBC
- The official EU site Schengenvisainfo
- Several Romanian sites, including Digi.24
A praise should be given to the Hungarian press for the way they have handled the Booking scandal.
Respectful praise and thanks to all those Hungarian press releases who consider Spabook as a credible site and who took over and published the Booking material. It would never have revealed how serious IT failure occurred at the world’s leading online accommodation portal and that many accommodation hosts in many countries around the world go unpaid for more than a month.
The fact is that, besides the giant news companies, sites with direct links to the people can in some cases take an advantage. Spabook did the same, when it first reported on the significant delay in the payment of Booking.
It is scary to see that a significant proportion of Hungarian readers are unable to make difference between credible sources and clickbait newspapers.
It is even more scary that instead of considering the specialist portal Spabook credible, which I run with a name and a face, a public imprint and available history and references, many people give credit to clickbait sites publishing fake news and flashy ads, most of which operate without naming the editor or the owner.
It is scary that people do not give credit to a site just because they might not know it. Instead of browsing the site, opening the imprint or the introduction to get to know the page they clicked on, they stick to the familiar but meaningless websites. It is scary and fearful.
At the same time, I am grateful and thankful to the regular readers of Spabook who, with their online presence and social media comments helped to get the article to more people.