Feeds

OFT probes Expedia and pals over hotel room price-fixing

May have broken EU competition law

Internet Security Threat Report 2014

Expedia, Booking.com and InterContinential Hotels Group may have broken EU competition law by restricting the ability of travel agents to discount the prices of room-only hotel accommodation, thereby squeezing out their competition.

That’s according to an Office of Fair Trading statement of objections issued Tuesday that follows an OFT investigation opened in September 2010 into suspected breaches of competition law in the hotel online booking sector.

The OFT's finding’s are provisional and the websites and hotel chain have the opportunity to respond before the department delivers a final verdict.

In a statement, OFT chief executive Clive Maxwell said: “The OFT's provisional view is that Booking.com, Expedia and InterContinental Hotels Group have infringed competition law.”

The 2010 investigation was initiated following a complaint by Skoosh.com.

Skoosh had claimed the hotels it bought room bookings from were under pressure from other resellers to maintain minimum prices – a practice it said was called 'rate parity' among industry insiders. This meant no discounting, empty rooms and no price competition.

The OFT said that the alleged infringements are, by their nature, anti-competitive in that they could limit price competition between online travel agents and increase barriers to entry and expansion for online travel agents that may seek to gain market share by offering discounts to consumers.

The department claimed the value for UK hotel rooms amounted to approximately £10.1bn in revenue in 2010.

Top 5 reasons to deploy VMware with Tegile

More from The Register

next story
Bono apologises for iTunes album dump
Megalomania, generosity and FEAR of irrelevance drove group to Apple deal
Facebook, Apple: LADIES! Why not FREEZE your EGGS? It's on the company!
No biological clockwatching when you work in Silicon Valley
Doctor Who's Flatline: Cool monsters, yes, but utterly limp subplots
We know what the Doctor does, stop going on about it already
Happiness economics is bollocks. Oh, UK.gov just adopted it? Er ...
Opportunity doesn't knock; it costs us instead
Arab States make play for greater government control of the internet
Nerds told to get lost in last-minute power grab bid at UN meeting
'Cowardly, venomous trolls' threatened with TWO-YEAR sentences for menacing posts
UK government: 'Taking a stand against a baying cyber-mob'
Zippy one-liners, broken promises: Doctor Who on the Orient Express
Series finally hits stride, but Clara's U-turn is baffling
Don't bother telling people if you lose their data, say Euro bods
You read that right – with the proviso that it's encrypted
prev story

Whitepapers

Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
Win a year’s supply of chocolate
There is no techie angle to this competition so we're not going to pretend there is, but everyone loves chocolate so who cares.
Why cloud backup?
Combining the latest advancements in disk-based backup with secure, integrated, cloud technologies offer organizations fast and assured recovery of their critical enterprise data.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Saudi Petroleum chooses Tegile storage solution
A storage solution that addresses company growth and performance for business-critical applications of caseware archive and search along with other key operational systems.