eLong.com (LONG) is being assailed in the local media by rivals and hoteliers for binding its booking service with the 114 telephone inquiry service number.
The "114" number is used by Chinese citizens to get the address or telephone number of businesses and individuals around the country. eLong says that it is providing a value-added service to users through its cooperation with China Telecom.
eLong says that when users dial 114 to know about the telephone number of a specific hotel, they will be given both the hotel telephone number and eLong's booking hotline number.
On the surface this is a kind of value-added service, however, the hotels don't believe so because consumers are being driven away from direct communication with the hotels. Hotels often give eLong a percentage of the booking fees when travelers book hotel rooms via eLong.
A Ctrip.com senior supervisor, Dong Fada, expressed his dissatisfaction with eLong's behavior. Local media report Dong says travel service providers should be no more than a platform to offer information or services necessary to users. According to Dong, eLong's behavior is a violation of the rules of the industry and harms the interest of hotels.