Competition Watchdog Outlines Changes Imposed on Online Hotel Booking Sites – Travel Weekly

The UK competition watchdog has outlined guidance to online accommodation booking sites after identifying “serious concerns” about certain commonly used practices in the sector.

The Competition and Markets Authority revealed earlier this month that it was clamping down on misleading sales tactics.

The regulator found issue with Expedia, Booking.com, Agoda, Hotels.com, ebookers and trivago following an investigation and the six sites gave commitments to change their practices.

The CMA said: “Online accommodation booking platforms can be a very valuable source of information for people looking for hotels and other short-term accommodation. It is crucial that these platforms operate in a way which is fair and not misleading to consumers.”

The authority has now published “principles” to help businesses in the sector comply with consumer law.

“If your business is using any of the practices highlighted, you need to make changes by 1st September 2019,” the CMA warned.

“Using sales tactics like misleading pressure selling, misleading discount claims, not disclosing the role that money your business earns plays in search results’ rankings, and hidden charges can harm customers and the reputation of your industry. It also puts you at risk of breaking consumer protection law.” 

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