Hotel booking websites could be forced to stop claiming there’s ‘one room left at this price’ and give more promotions to hotels that pay the most commission, the UK regulator has said. competition regulation.
The Competition and Markets Authority has been investigating since October whether the sites mislead consumers and has identified a number of areas of concern.
The CMA did not name the companies it was investigating, but major sites include Expedia and Booking.com.
The regulator is looking at how a hotel’s ranking on a website can be influenced by the size of its commission.
The AMC said details on sites about how many people are looking at a room, how many are left and how long a price is available can create a false impression of availability or rush customers into making a booking decision. .
According to the regulator, around 70% of people looking for accommodation use hotel booking sites, but many have found that the final price paid is inflated by unexpected additional costs such as taxes and booking fees added later.
“Booking sites can make choosing your vacation easier, but only if people can trust them,” said Andrea Coscelli, CMA’s chief executive.
“We are asking sites to rethink the way they present information to their customers to ensure they comply with the law. Our next step is to take all necessary steps – including through the courts if necessary – to ensure people get a fair deal.
Guy Anker, Deputy Editor of MoneySavingExpert.com, said: “Hotel prices on booking and comparison sites can often be misleading.
“While the extent of the CMA’s action is unclear, we hope it will crack down hard on sites that outrageously fail to show the true upfront cost, claim false discounts, or sell under pressure by suggesting to wrong that the hotel is almost full. ”
The regulator has ordered sites to review their practices and respond in the coming months.