The Office of Fair Trading (OFT) has opened its investigation into room rate price-fixing - involving InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG) - up to public consultation.
In its preliminary findings, released in July 2012, the OFT announced that the global hotel company had entered into separate agreements with online travel agents (OTAs) Booking.com and Expedia, which could infringe competition law.
It claimed, through a Statement of Objections, that the agreements restricted each agent's ability to discount the rate at which room-only hotel accommodation bookings are offered to consumers.
The formal commitments concern the removal of the restrictions currently in place so that OTAs can provide discounts for customers on loyalty schemes or who have made at least one previous booking with the agent.
In a statement IHG responded to the OFT's public consultation by saying: The OFT has today commenced a public consultation on a series of commitments designed to bring an end to this investigation without finding of infringement or the imposition of any fine. IHG has worked closely with the OFT to agree these commitments, which are now subject to a consultation period ending 13 September 2013.
The outcome of the investigation is expected to have wider implications as the alleged practices are believed to be widespread with regards distribution arrangements within the indsutry.
The OFT expects to announce a final decision on the proposed commitments in December.