Bundeskartellamt calls Booking.com's ‘best price’ clauses anticompetitive

Today, the Bundeskartellamt (German Cartel Office) has banned Booking.com’s ‘best price’ clause. This follows on from parallel decisions against rate parity in France and Italy.

In the light of this decision, many are asking: will this set the trend for Europe?

In April of this year, the Bundeskartellamt first issued a statement of objection against Booking.com’s Best Price agreements. These agreements oblige hotels to offer the OTA their lowest prices.

The German OTA HRS has already been banned for what has been branded ‘anti-competitive practice’, but until now, Booking.com has been protected by Most Favoured Nation clauses, which ensure that no other party can receive better offers.  

2015 has seen hotels uniting in an outcry to regain control of their own websites. From Marriott’s Summer #itpaystobookdirect to Hotrec’s Book Direct campaign this week, the calls to re-educate guests about the benefits of booking direct are constantly increasing. The Bundeskartellamt’s ban on ‘best price’ clauses is just one more step in controlling pricing and bringing transparency to the hotel industry.

Our Chief Tease Charlie commented on the Bundeskartellamt announcement today: “This is a great win for consumers as hotels now have the freedom to offer the best prices direct. Wunderbar!

"The Bundeskartellamt (German Cartel Office) has made it clear that Booking.com’s contracts were anti-competitive, even the compromises that Booking put forward demonstrated no apparent benefit to the consumer.
"We think there is a growing understanding among savvy travellers that hoteliers prefer direct bookers. We’re delighted that this ruling makes it possible for German hotels to incentivise direct bookings with lower prices.
“We believe that Booking.com wants to restrict competition in the market. They’ve tried to prevent hotels from offering better deals direct and attempted to restrict price transparency."

 

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All of our blogs are written in-house by the team to give you a mixture of news hot off the press, advice columns for hoteliers, and Triptease business news.