UK Government pressured to ban rate parity agreements

By Sophie Witts contact

- Last updated on GMT

Expedia recently amended their terms in line with Booking.com's commitments
Expedia recently amended their terms in line with Booking.com's commitments

Related tags: European union

The Competition and Markets Authority is facing pressure to ban rate parity agreements set by online booking sites following the French Government’s decision to outlaw the terms last week (10 July).

The British Hospitality Association (BHA) is calling on the UK Government to take a stand against online travel agents (OTAs) which restrict hotels from offering lower prices and better booking conditions through their own website.

Despite Booking.com​ and the Expedia group​ amending their terms to allow UK and European hotels to advertise lower room prices on competing OTAs, the BHA is arguing that the move does not go far enough.

“Customers continue to see virtually the same price across all websites rather than a competitive marketplace with many sites competing with one another to offer the most attractive deal,” the BHA said in a statement.

Though Expedia and Booking.com have argued this arrangement provides more choice to the consumer, the BHA sees it as restrictive to competition.

"The decision by the French legislature is a step forward in returning competition to the hotel booking sector,” said Jackie Grech, BHA legal and policy director.

“Without rate parity customers will be able to shop around for the best hotel deal and are likely to see more competitive prices as a result.

“We look to the Competition and Markets Authority in the UK and the European Commission to take action to return competition to the online hotel booking market by banning rate parity."

Related topics: Business, Hotels, Digital

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