OTAs pulled up on misleading sales tactics

It’s something we’ve all experienced and maybe even come to expect as part of the holiday-booking process – that sense of urgency kick-started by the sight of a red button beside an apartment or a hotel room you’re looking at on the likes of expedia, booking.com or trivago: “in high demand – there’s only 1 like it!”

Obviously this kind of messaging is used to encourage us as customers to make a panic purchase – quick, click ‘buy’ before it’s too late! Is it a misleading tactic? Yes, and the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) think so too. They’ve been investigating a number of OTAs since last summer, and have begun taking ‘enforcement action to bring to an end misleading sales tactics, hidden charges and other practices in the online hotel booking market”.

A number of rules have now been put in place that companies across the sector will need to abide by to make the space fairer and clearer for customers. This will diminish false impressions and expose hidden fees. Companies have been given until September 1st of this year to implement the new rules, or they could be taken to court.

Our client services director Gemma says: “OTAs play a huge part in hotel’s ongoing online bookings – this means they have a responsibility to both customers and hotels to play fair. Customers lead hectic lives and don’t have hours to pore over the intricacies of messaging on an OTA’s website; they deserve to be provided with honest information without being misled. The rules that have been put in place will make all the difference and will help customers to make more informed choices without an unnecessary pressure on their backs.”

We’ll be keeping a close eye on the space!

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