Feb 6, 2019

Hotel booking sites to end misleading sales tactics

The UK's consumer protection regulator declared "a victory for UK holidaymakers" as it revealed an agreement with some of the biggest online hotel booking websites to end misleading practices. Among the improvements to which the hotel booking sites have committed are to tell customers when search results and rankings have been affected by the amount of commission a hotel pays the site, and to include all compulsory charges such as taxes, booking or resort fees in the headline price. The sites named by the CMA were Expedia, Trivago, Hotels.com and ebookers - brands owned by Expedia Group - as well as Booking.com and Agoda, both run by Booking Holdings. Expedia Group said on Wednesday it had "Invested significant time and energy into working closely with the CMA to create a helpful industry standard for all UK booking sites offering accommodation search and booking services". Booking.com said it was pleased the CMA probe had closed "Without finding admission of infringement" by the business, adding it had "Agreed to test and implement new commitments, like pricing inclusive of all fees, to ensure we meet all standards for consumer transparency in the UK". The CMA investigation into hotel booking sites began in October 2017 and proceeded to enforcement action in June last year.

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