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Hotel Booking Sites to End ‘Misleading Sales Tactics’

Hotel Booking Sites to End ‘Misleading Sales Tactics’

PerformanceIN

Some of the biggest online hotel booking sites have agreed to end ‘misleading sales tactics’ after an enforcement action from the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA).

Expedia, Booking.com, Agoda, Hotels.com, ebookers and trivago have been investigated by the competition watchdog surrounding serious concerns around pressure selling, misleading discount claims and the effect that commission has on how hotels are booked on sites in addition to hidden charges.

Furthermore, the CMA said the pressure tactics used by the six websites in question could prevent customers finding the best deals in practices that could amount to breaches of consumer law.

The investigation started in June 2018 and following the case, the sites have all agreed to comply with the new set of standards.

Agreement terms

All six hotel booking sites, which were under investigation by the CMA, have co-operated with its work - though not all were found to have taken part in the misleading practices.

All six hotel booking sites, which were under investigation by the CMA, have co-operated with its work - though not all were found to have taken part in the misleading practices.

The companies have voluntarily agreed to make changes in the following areas:

  • Search results - clearer terms on how hotels are ranked after a customer has entered their search requirements
  • Pressure selling - not give a false impression of the availability or popularity of a hotel, or to rush customers into making a booking based on incomplete information
  • Discount claims - be clearer about discounts and only promote deals that are actually available at that time
  • Hidden charges - to display all compulsory charges such as taxes, booking or resort fees in the headline price

"Six websites have already given firm undertakings not to engage in these practices. They are some of the largest hotel booking sites. The CMA will now do whatever it can to ensure that the rest of the sector meets the same standards,” said the competition watchdog’s chairman Andrew Tyrie.

"Not all firms engaged in all of the practices cited above, but all have nonetheless agreed to abide by all the principles set out in the undertakings."
The websites have a deadline of September 1 to make the changes or face further action. Not all companies engaged in the misleading sales practices but all have agreed to abide by all of the principles set out by the CMA.

Expedia commented to MoneySavingExpert.com it has "invested significant time and energy into working closely with the CMA to create a helpful industry standard for all UK booking sites offering accommodation search and booking services."

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Mustafa Mirreh

Mustafa Mirreh

Mustafa is a senior journalist at PerformanceIN. Reporting on the latest day-to-day news and updates from the world of performance marketing, while also doing social media promotion, live reporting of events, article features and interviewing key industry players.

 

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