Online Travel Agents: CMA Re-Opens Investigation On Pricing Practices

cmaThe Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) has sent a questionnaire to a large sample of hotels in the UK as part of a joint monitoring project, in partnership with the European Commission and 9 other competition agencies in the EU.

This project is looking at how changes to room pricing terms, and other recent developments, have affected the market. In particular, whether the Europe-wide removal by online travel agents Expedia and Booking.com of certain ‘rate parity’ or ‘most-favoured nation’ clauses in their standard contracts with hotels in July 2015 has affected the market.

The CMA sent an initial request for responses to its questionnaire in July. We have now reopened the questionnaire, to give hotels a further chance to respond. The deadline for responses is 23 September.

Hotels in the UK that have not been directly contacted by the CMA are also welcome to complete the questionnaire. Please indicate on the form (at question 3) whether or not you received a direct communication from the CMA inviting you to participate.

The joint monitoring work is expected to be completed by the end of 2016 and will enable the CMA to determine whether or not there is a need for any further action in this sector.