Hotels and booking sites told to toe the line

By | Category: Travel news

Almost two years ago, the competition and Markets Authority (CMA) announced that it was opening an investigation into online hotel booking sites. The problem was with how information was displayed to the reader. Saying that there were just a few rooms left suggested that the hotel was very popular and about to be full. What the booking agency didn’t say was that it was the stock they had agreed with the hotel to move was running out and not necessarily all the rooms that the hotel had that were available elsewhere.

To me and many others it looked like the online booking agencies were trying to hoodwink those that used their sites.

In addition, it wasn’t necessarily the price that was displayed was the final price that had to be paid.

After a long period, the CMA says that it has reached agreement with a number of online booking agencies and hotels themselves (31in all but there are many more chains that haven’t agreed) that the practice will stop.

Here is the full list of those that have agreed to abide by the ruling so that readers can judge for themselves when visiting a site whether the hotel positioning they see is likely to be fair.

Firstly these are the six that the CMA investigated.

Booking.com

Expedia

Agoda

Hotels.com

ebookers

trivago

The following list of twenty-four were not investigated (there was another but they are no longer in business) and there is suggestion that they indulged in the deceptive practices but all have agreed to voluntarily follow the CMA.

Accor

AirBnB

Best Western Hotels & Resorts, Great Britain

Google

Hilton

HolidayPirates

HomeAway

HotelsCombined

IHG

Kayak

Lastminute

Marriott

Momondo

On the Beach

Opodo

Premier Inn

Radisson Hotel Group

Skyscanner

Travelodge

Travel Republic

Travelsupermarket

TripAdvisor

Trip.com

Wyndham Hotels and Resorts

Accor, IHG, Hilton, Marriott, Radisson Hotel Group, and Wyndham Hotels and Resorts requested more time as they will need to introduce specific technical updates so that UK customers are always shown the full cost of a room upfront when searching for hotels abroad.

The CMA said that it will be watching to make sure that these major brands stay true to their word. It also said that it would take action if we find evidence that firms are breaking consumer law.

Readers might like to look at the recently published CMA publication Consumer Law: Principles for online accommodation booking platforms.

The principles apply to any website where consumers could book search for or book hotels, bed and breakfasts or other short-term accommodation such as apartment holiday lets. The principles apply to booking sites (like online travel agencies or sites where people can search for holiday lets) and also to sites where customers can book directly with the hotel or other accommodation.

hotel room
Would you have a booked this hotel room if the listings on online booking sites were fairer?
If you enjoyed this post, please consider subscribing to the RSS feed to have future articles delivered to your feed reader.
Tags: , , ,