What specific kind of data will hotels present about you?
In the near future, reporting obligations of accommodation providers will increase. It is advised to prepare for this change in advance because the non-compliance with reporting obligations may result in fine or temporary closure, furthermore repeated violations of these obligations may trigger permanent closure as well. An expert of Kapolyi Law Firm presents the relevant new regulations below.
Reporting obligations before the new regulations:
The obligation of providing data is not unknown to service providers operating in this sector, as according to the rules applicable until the end of 2018, certain data had to be transmitted monthly to the Hungarian Central Statistical Office (KSH). The transmitted data concerned information on the number of guests, capacity, revenue and employees. In addition, the so-called “other accommodation providers” had an additional obligation to provide data to the notaries on an annual basis, on the number of guests and number of the spent nights separately in case of residents and non-residents of Hungary.
Who are subject of the new regulations?
„First and foremost, it is worth to clarify who an accommodation provider is” – says dr. Marta Gecsényi, lawyer of Kapolyi Law Firm. According to the regulations in force, an accommodation provider is any person or organization who provides non-permanent accommodation and directly related services for business purposes. As a consequence, the persons operating hotel, guesthouse or camping and even the Airbnb service providers are considered to be accommodation providers.
“We draw attention to the fact that previously applicable sanctions still apply in the event of non-compliance with the new reporting obligations. Thus, in the event of repeated non-compliance with the above obligations, the Hungarian Tourism Agency shall initiate official control of the competent notary responsible for the supervision of the concerned accommodation provider” – reminds the expert. The applicable legal consequences according to statutory or regulatory requirements regarding accommodation include the imposition of fines and the decision on temporary closure of the accommodation. The most severe sanction may be applied if the notary notices that the accommodation provider has not remedied the violation of the regulations or he has repeatedly conducted unlawful behavior within a year. In case of the latter the notary may even order the closure of the accommodation.
What does the accommodation provider has to do?
The first step to comply with the regulations is to register electronically at the National Tourism Data Supply Centre. After the registration the data providing can be fulfilled via the so-called “accommodation management software”. It is the responsibility of the accommodation provider to acquire the accommodation management software; however, the accommodation providers providing maximum eight rooms and 16 beds per accommodation can use this software free of charge. After registration the data providing shall be performed on a daily and monthly basis in accordance with the relevant regulations.
While the scope of the information to be provided is not defined in the recent regulations, from 1 January 2020 the obligation of data storage and reporting will include personal data such as name, place and date of birth, details of identity documents and date of accommodation usage. These data will be processed by the accommodation provider for a period of one year from the date of registration, and only the accommodation provider and any person or body authorized by law shall have the right to know them. Another new regulation on data processing is that during the period indicated above, the police may search in the accommodation provider’s register for the person they are seeking and then it may request access to data as well.
In case of an already operating accommodation, depending on the type of the accommodation, a preparation time was ensured to comply with the new regulations. The already operating accommodation had to register between 1 and 30 June 2019. Guesthouse service providers were required to register during September 2019, while hostel, holiday home and other accommodation providers are required to register during December 2019.
In order to fully meet the legal requirements, the information about the parameters of the software may be found on the website of Hungarian Tourism Agency. The obligation for hotels to provide the required data started on 1 July 2019.