The European technology and Travel Services Association (Ettsa) has demanded EU regulators enforce tighter standards “on all players” in the accommodation-booking sector.

Ettsa welcomed new standards imposed on the sector by the UK Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) which come into force on September 1.

But it called on the CMA to enforce the standards “across the industry, including on search engines, big hotel groups and short-stay apartment rentals.


MoreOTA groups hit back at B&B complaints [Aug 17]

Comment: Don’t bite the hand that feeds [Aug 17]

Opinion: Are big OTAs abusing their power? [July 17]


It also demanded “harmonisation of standards across the EU”.

Ettsa represents leading OTAs, metasearch sites and global distribution systems (GDSs).

The CMA announced in February that “some of the biggest online hotel booking sites” including Expedia, Booking.com, Agoda, Hotels.com, ebookers and trivago had made “formal commitments to change their ways”.

This followed a CMA investigation into “pressure selling, misleading discount claims, hidden charges” and distortion of search rankings.

The OTAs agreed to “make clearer how hotels are ranked, for example when search results [are] affected by the commission a hotel pays”; end the “false impression of availability or popularity” of a hotel; be “clearer about discounts and only promote deals actually available”; and display “all compulsory charges” in headline prices.

All changes were due by September 1 and the CMA pledged to “write to online travel agents, metasearch engines and hotel chains” setting out how they should also comply “by September 1”.

Industry figures welcomed the action but said it did not go far enough.

Bed & Breakfast Association chairman David Weston said it failed to address a key complaint on ‘rate parity’ clauses.

He said: “Rate-parity clauses in contracts prevent accommodation owners discounting their own prices to their own customers on their own sites. The OTAs demand commission – typically 15%‑20% – and insist the B&B or hotel charge the commission-inclusive price to customers even when no commission is payable.

“We asked the CMA to ban rate-parity clauses in the UK, as they have been in France, Italy, Austria and Germany.”

MoreOTA groups hit back at B&B complaints [Aug 17]

Comment: Don’t bite the hand that feeds [Aug 17]

Opinion: Are big OTAs abusing their power? [July 17]

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