(France Media Agency)
Thursday, February 7, 2019
Some of the world’s largest hotel booking sites have agreed to stop engaging in shady marketing tactics such as pressure selling and deceptive discounts following an investigation by the UK’s Privacy Group. consumers.
Calling the result a victory for UK holidaymakers, the Markets and Competition Authority gave sites like Expedia, Booking.com, Agoda, Hotels.com, ebookers and Trivago until September 1 to change their ways.
A survey launched last year uncovered unsavory practices among online booking sites, including sales under pressure and misleading omissions.
What exactly is pressure selling? If you’ve ever booked a hotel room in a rush, because the website told you hundreds of other people were looking at the same room, or because the website made it seem like hotels in the area were complete, you may very well have been duped.
Also read: ZEN Rooms Introduces Credit Card-Free Booking Function
Now hotels will need to make it clear that consumers can search for different dates and refrain from posting full hotels in search results, a pressure tactic used to get people to book faster.
Websites will also be required to disclose when the ranking of search results is influenced by commissions paid by the hotel to the site.
Discounts and promotional offers that are posted must be relevant and available to the user’s research, and any mandatory charges such as taxes, reservation or stay fees must be posted in advance.
While the CMA does not characterize the practices as a violation of consumer law, the group said if the changes are not made by September 1, they will consider taking further enforcement action.