Menu
Booking.com proposes settling price parity antitrust cases across Europe

Booking.com proposes settling price parity antitrust cases across Europe

Hotels have been invited to comment on Booking.com's proposal to drop a clause in its contracts requiring them to offer it their best prices

Hotel reservation site Booking.com has offered to settle antitrust cases brought against it in Sweden, France and Italy, and on Monday antitrust authorities invited hotels to give their views on the settlement.

Antitrust authorities in those countries targeted Booking.com because its contracts oblige hotels to offer it the same or better room prices as the hotels offer other distribution channels, online or offline.

These so-called "parity clauses", or best price deals, harm competition in the sector and are in breach of national competition laws as well as European Union antitrust rules, the countries' antitrust authorities concluded in preliminary investigations. They are in particular concerned that the deals hamper competition between Booking.com and other online travel agents, while they also could make it hard for new companies to enter the market.

The European Commission is coordinating the national investigations but has not as yet opened its own investigation. It did however launch market tests on Monday to see if Booking.com's proposed antitrust remedies suffice.

Booking.com has proposed abandoning the best price requirement in respect of prices offered to other agents, which would result in hotels being free to sell rooms more cheaply on other sites. However, Booking.com will still require hotels to offer it the same room prices, or better, as they offer through their own online and offline booking channels.

Hotels and other affected parties can submit comments to the national competition authorities until Jan. 31.

Similar antitrust investigations are ongoing into best price deals demanded by other online travel agents. In Sweden for instance the competition authority is also investigating Expedia, which so far has not offered any antitrust remedies, spokesman Martin Mandorff said. The Swedish investigation started in January 2013.

The Italian antitrust authority is also investigating Expedia's pricing deals and conducting a separate investigation into TripAdvisor's efforts to eliminate fake reviews. In France, Expedia and hotel reservation service HRS are also under scrutiny from the competition authority, which said it will continue its investigations into those companies.

Loek is Amsterdam Correspondent and covers online privacy, intellectual property, online payment issues as well as EU technology policy and regulation for the IDG News Service. Follow him on Twitter at @loekessers or email tips and comments to loek_essers@idg.com

Follow Us

Join the New Zealand Reseller News newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags Internet-based applications and servicesantitrustExpediaregulationtripadvisorBooking.comeuropean commissionlegalgovernmentinternet

Slideshows

Top 50 defining moments of the New Zealand channel in 2016

Top 50 defining moments of the New Zealand channel in 2016

Reseller News looks back on a tumultuous 12 months for the New Zealand channel, assessing the fallout from a year of sizeable industry change. Whether it be local or global mergers and acquisitions, distribution deals or job changes, the channel that started the year differs somewhat to the one set to finish it - Reseller News assesses the key moments that made 2016.​

Top 50 defining moments of the New Zealand channel in 2016
​Hewlett Packard Enterprise honours high achieving NZ channel

​Hewlett Packard Enterprise honours high achieving NZ channel

Hewlett Packard Enterprise honoured its top performing Kiwi partners at the second running of its HPE Partner Awards in New Zealand, held at a glitzy ceremony in Auckland. Recognising excellence across eight categories - from distributors to resellers - the tech giant celebrated its first year as a standalone company, following its official split from HP in 2015.

​Hewlett Packard Enterprise honours high achieving NZ channel
Nutanix treats channel partners to Christmas cruise

Nutanix treats channel partners to Christmas cruise

Nutanix recently took to the seas for a Christmas Cruise around Sydney Harbour with its Australia and New Zealand staff, customers and partners to celebrate a stellar year for the vendor. With the sun out, they were all smiles and mingled over drinks and food.

Nutanix treats channel partners to Christmas cruise
Show Comments