Feeds

OFT probes Expedia and pals over hotel room price-fixing

May have broken EU competition law

Reducing security risks from open source software

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.

Eight steps to building an HP BladeSystem

More from The Register

next story
BBC goes offline in MASSIVE COCKUP: Stephen Fry partly muzzled
Auntie tight-lipped as major outage rolls on
iPad? More like iFAD: We reveal why Apple fell into IBM's arms
But never fear fanbois, you're still lapping up iPhones, Macs
White? Male? You work in tech? Let us guess ... Twitter? We KNEW it!
Grim diversity numbers dumped alongside Facebook earnings
HP, Microsoft prove it again: Big Business doesn't create jobs
SMEs get lip service - what they need is dinner at the Club
Bose says today IS F*** With Dre Day: Beats sued in patent battle
Music gear giant seeks some of that sweet, sweet Apple pie
Amazon Reveals One Weird Trick: A Loss On Almost $20bn In Sales
Investors really hate it: Share price plunge as growth SLOWS in key AWS division
Dude, you're getting a Dell – with BITCOIN: IT giant slurps cryptocash
1. Buy PC with Bitcoin. 2. Mine more coins. 3. Goto step 1
There's NOTHING on TV in Europe – American video DOMINATES
Even France's mega subsidies don't stop US content onslaught
prev story

Whitepapers

Top three mobile application threats
Prevent sensitive data leakage over insecure channels or stolen mobile devices.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.
Designing a Defense for Mobile Applications
Learn about the various considerations for defending mobile applications - from the application architecture itself to the myriad testing technologies.
Build a business case: developing custom apps
Learn how to maximize the value of custom applications by accelerating and simplifying their development.