Speculation over OTAs operating fairly has always been a topic of heated discussion ever since they gained market dominance. However, they’ve hit the headlines once again as UK authorities, CMA, launched a major investigation into their practices.
Consumers going to these big comparison sites usually think they’re getting the best deal, however, with their use of urgency messaging and discounted prices skewed by hidden fees added later in the booking process, they may not be quite as good as they appear.
As hoteliers, we know that the lowest prices, opportunities for upgrades and extra benefits, are found by booking direct on the brand.com website, rather than going through an OTA. Until now, in spite of the book direct movement in full force among hotel chains and independents alike, it has been near impossible to shift the well-ingrained mindset of the consumer.
It will take several months to carry out this investigation, whilst we wait with baited breath for the results, it is still uncertain whether all major OTAs will participate in the investigation.
The CMA wants to hear the views of hoteliers who may have relevant information or evidence in their investigation. If you’re a UK based property and feel you have something you want to share go to the official case page here.
OTAs hit the headlines in the UK today as authorities unveiled a major investigation into their practices. The British competition watchdog is examining booking sites’ “clarity, accuracy and presentation of information” and even questioning whether they break consumer law.
It’s great news for consumers, but hoteliers should welcome it with open arms too. After all, it’s a very public acknowledgement that OTAs may not always offer travellers the best possible deal — a myth that has been around for far too long and one that we’ve been aiming to bust since we first launched the Direct Booking Movement.
The UK Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) has launched an investigation into hotel-booking sites including Expedia and Booking.com following a series of complaints.
The CMA said it is “concerned about the clarity, accuracy, and presentation of information on sites” and will look into their search results, discount claims and hidden charges.
The authority is requesting information from across the sector, including from hotels and consumers.
CMA chief executive Andrea Coscelli said: “Around 70% of people who shopped around for hotels last year used these sites and they should be confident they have chosen the best accommodation for their needs and are getting a good deal.”
Are hotel booking websites misleading travellers, preventing them finding the best deals and breaking consumer law? The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) has launched an investigation to find out.
The CMA says it is concerned about the “clarity, accuracy and presentation of information” on sites such as Booking.com and Expedia (which owns Hotels.com, Agoda and the comparison website Trivago).
The investigation will focus on four aspects of Online Travel Agency (OTA) activity.