The move is an attempt to bring closure to ongoing investigations by European competition authorities in to price fixing clauses set by online travel agents (OTA’s), with the French government planning to ban the practice.
Under the new conditions hoteliers advertising rooms on sites across the company’s portfolio, including Expedia.com, Hotels.com and trivago, will also be able to offer alternate booking conditions and additional services through other OTA’s.
Beginning on 1 August this year, the agreements will be effective for a period of five years. The OTA has said it will be contacting individual hotel partners to explain how it intends to implement the changes.
The company said in a statement: “While Expedia maintains that its current rate, conditions and availability parity clauses are lawful and in compliance with competition law, Expedia considers that today’s announcement is a positive step towards facilitating the closure of the open investigations into such clauses on a harmonised pan-European basis.”
"With both German and now French governments setting precedents we encourage that UK regulators and government will take up the issue to put the power back into customers hands as they shop around online for the best deals," commented Jackie Grech, legal and policy director at the BHA.
Expedia said its’ announcement offered consumers transparency, and that it was committed to offering a wide choice of options at low prices.
“Expedia hopes that today’s announcement will allow it and its hotel partners to focus again fully on jointly delivering choice and value to travellers looking for compelling European accommodation deals,” the company said.