Hotel booking sites to end "misleading" sales tactics

By Sophie Witts contact

- Last updated on GMT

Hotel booking sites to end "misleading" sales tactics

Related tags: Hotel, Otas, Bookings

Six major hotel booking sites have agreed to stop using “misleading” sales tactics such as pressure selling following a probe by the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA).

Expedia, Booking.com, Agoda, Hotels.com, ebookers and trivago were investigated by the watchdog last year​ over its concerns.

The CMA says all the sites have agreed to end practices such as giving a false impression of a room’s popularity, not displaying hidden charges and promoting discount deals irrelevant to the customer’s search criteria.

The watchdog says other “wholly unacceptable” tactics used by some of the sites included deliberately placing sold out hotels within search results to pressure people in to booking more quickly.

CMA chairman Andrew Tyrie says: “Six websites have already given firm undertakings not to engage in these practices. They are some of the largest hotel booking sites. The CMA will now do whatever it can to ensure that the rest of the sector meets the same standards.”

The sites have until 1 September to make the changes, and the CMA will contact other booking sites informing them of the need to take action.

Kate Nicholls, CEO of UKHospitality, says: “The CMA’s recommendations will simultaneously add a level of protection for accommodation businesses who have too often lost out via unfair practices. 

“It is a welcome step to increase transparency in the realm of online platforms at a UK level. We now need action to address unfair parity clauses to ensure there is fairness and transparency for both customers and businesses.”

Related topics: Legislation

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