The UK's Competition And Markets Authority Set To Probe Hotel Booking Sites
The UK’s Competition and Markets Authority is set to probe hotel booking sites due to concerns that consumers are being misled and having a more difficult time booking accommodation by these sites.
According to bbc.com, the CMA investigation will examine areas such as hidden charges, search results and discount claims on leading booking sites, including Expedia and booking.com.
Booking site Trivago, which is majority owned by Expedia, issued a statement asserting, “Trivago will work with the CMA to explain the benefits it delivers to consumers looking for their ideal hotel.”
Meanwhile, the CMA’s Nisha Arora told BBC’s Today show, “We are concerned about the clarity and accuracy of these sites. Rather than helping consumers they may actually be making it more difficult for them. When you put in your criteria - which room you want, when you want to stay - they are listed in a certain order. This is not just influenced by consumer preference but by commission - commercial considerations - and consumers might not be aware of this.”
The British Hospitality Association has expressed its support for the CMA’s investigation, saying that “high rates of commission, use of misleading information, pressure selling, and a lack of transparency” can result in customers “paying more than they should for rooms.”
On top of reaching out to hotels, websites and other organisations in the hospitality sector, the CMA is also appealing to consumers to contact them and share their experiences. The Authority stated that approximately 70% of people seeking accommodation make use of hotel booking sites.