Booking giants to voluntarily make changes to online selling

February 18, 2019
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These six booking giants have agreed to make changes to their online sales tactics

Following an investigating by the UK's Competition and Markets Authority (CMA), which looked into the issues like pressure selling, hidden fees, misleading discount claims, and commissions effecting how hotels are listed on sites, Expedia, Booking.com, Agoda, Hotels.com, ebookers, and trivago have all agreed to change their sales tactics when it comes to their online platforms.

The CMA took action last year because it was concerned that practices such as giving a false impression of a room’s popularity or not displaying the full cost of a room upfront could mislead people, stop them finding the best deal and potentially break consumer protection law,” said the CMA in a statement.

According to the statement, all companies under investigation by the CMA have co-operated with its work and voluntarily agreed to the following:

Search results: making it clearer how hotels are ranked after a customer has entered their search requirements, for example telling people when search results have been affected by the amount of commission a hotel pays the site.

Pressure selling: not giving a false impression of the availability or popularity of a hotel or rushing customers into making a booking decision based on incomplete information. For example, when highlighting that other customers are looking at the same hotel as you, making it clear they may be searching for different dates. The CMA also saw examples of some sites strategically placing sold out hotels within search results to put pressure on people to book more quickly. Sites have now committed not to do this.

Discount claims: being clearer about discounts and only promoting deals that are actually available at that time. Examples of misleading discount claims may include comparisons with a higher price that was not relevant to the customer’s search criteria. For example, some sites were comparing a higher weekend room rate with a weekday rate or comparing the price of a luxury suite with a standard room.

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February 18, 2019

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