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BHA welcomes reopened investigation into OTA practices

15 September 2016 by

The BHA has welcomed the Competition and Markets Authority's (CMA) decision to reopen its investigation into the practices of online travel agencies (OTAs).

The UK is taking part in an inquiry across 10 countries, led by the European Commission, looking into how changes to room pricing terms and other recent developments in online travel bookings have affected the market.

The CMA sent an initial request to UK hotels for responses to its questionnaire in July, and has reopened it to give hotels a further chance to respond. Although a sample of hotels have been contacted, hotels in the UK that have not been directly contacted by the CMA are also welcome to complete the questionnaire.

The investigation is examining whether the Europe-wide removal by online travel agents Expedia and Booking.com of certain ‘rate parity' or ‘most-favoured nation' clauses in their standard contracts with hotels has affected the market. In July 2015 the organisations changed their terms and conditions which prevented hotels from offering cheaper room rates on other OTA sites.

The joint monitoring work is expected to be completed by the end of 2016 and will enable the CMA to determine whether or not there is a need for any further action in this sector.

The BHA has urged all hotels to take part by going to the survey on the CMA website: ec.europa.eu/eusurvey/runner/CMAhotels

BHA chief executive Ufi Ibrahim said: "The CMA's decision to reopen their survey is an opportunity for our industry to lead European policy, and we urge all hoteliers to respond. The online marketplace is constantly changing so it is vitally important that the industry's voice and experience is heard in this consultation. Customers and hotels alike will benefit from transparency and fairness."

The survey is open until 23 September.

Lords call for urgent market investigation into OTAs >>

BHA slams OTAs for ‘stifling competition' when booking hotels >>

Independent hoteliers want stricter OTA rules, says survey >>

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