The hotel and online travel agent sectors have recently been in the regulatory spotlight, with competition authorities across Europe and beyond investigating whether parity agreements between hotels and online travel agents (OTAs) should be outlawed as anti-competitive.
Rate parity agreements prevent hotels offering lower rates to customers than are available to the OTA, and the concern is that these clauses have had the effect of restricting price competition for hotel rooms.
This regulatory pressure has prompted the biggest OTAs to agree significant changes to the way they operate, which could have a major impact on OTAs, hotels and customers alike.
The UK Competition and Markets Authority has closed its own investigation in light of these recent developments, but other EU authorities remain engaged. Hotels and travel agents should be reviewing their contracts now to assess whether any parity restrictions comply with competition law.
We’ve produced an e-update that explains the current state of play in the sector and the background to the changes, as well as tips for what hotels and travel agents should do now.
If you have any queries or would like to discuss this issue, please don’t hesitate to get in touch or leave a message in the comments.
On September 29, 2015