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Monitoring the online hotel-booking sector

The Netherlands Authority for Consumers and Markets (ACM) will study the effects of adjustments made to contracts between hotels and online hotel-booking websites. As part of that study, several hotels in the Netherlands have received surveys from ACM.

In July 2015, online hotel-booking websites Booking.com and Expedia relaxed the so-called 'lowest price guarantee' that these websites used to impose on hotels. In practice, this clause dictated that the prices of hotel rooms of the hotels in question had to be the same across all sales channels. Hotels are now allowed, among other things, to set different room rates on different hotel-booking websites.

Joint European study

Last year, ACM said it expected that said relaxation would help stimulate competition between booking sites, thus benefiting hotels and consumers. ACM, the competition authorities of nine other EU countries* and the European Commission will carry out this joint study. In the study, it is examined whether the adjusted conditions have led to any changes to the way hotels market their rooms, and to their prices. The results of this study will be used to determine whether further action is necessary in this sector. The study is expected to be completed by late-2016.

* The competition authorities of Belgium, Germany, France, Ireland, Italy, Hungary, the Czech Republic, the United Kingdom, and Sweden.