JacTravel has issued a qualified welcome to the ‘commitments’ given by Booking.com to the European Commission, in response to investigation by competition authorities across Europe into rate parity in the market for hotel accommodation.
“Booking.com has proposed to abandon the parity requirement in respect of prices that the hotel makes available to other online travel agents,” the Commission said in a statement. However, it said that Booking.com could still have clauses in their agreements with hotels preventing them from offering discounts or lower rates on the hotels’ own websites.
Malcolm Lindop, Head of Contracting, JacTravel, said: “While the Commission failed to compel Booking.com to remove all the objectionable clauses in its contracts with hotels, this is a small but important step in the right direction. We need a dynamic, competitive market in which hoteliers and distributors are properly free to negotiate whatever terms they wish between themselves and are not spooked by the spectre of large players exerting undue pressure.
“From experience, we know that when we are free to negotiate rates (most usually with independent hotels) that are genuinely competitive in the open market, we can generate substantial bookings for our hotel partners. We now look forward to doing that rather more often.”