Travel firms, including booking.com TripAdvisor, Airbnb, Google and IHG, have signed a new agreement to be clearer to consumers about booking costs online, in changes spearheaded by the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA).
Earlier this year, CMA took enforcement action against six companies, Expedia, booking.com, Agoda, Hotels,com, ebookers and trivago, for serious concerns relating to pressure selling, misleading discount claims and the effect that commission has on how hotels are ordered on sites.
Now as a result of the investigation, the six companies, plus 25 firms including TripAdvisor, Airbnb and Google, have signed up to the CMA’s sector wide principals for complying with consumer protection law.
The new agreement includes not giving a false impression of a room’s popularity and always displaying the full cost of a room upfront.
Most have already made any necessary changes.
Hotel chains such as Accor, IHG, Hilton, Marriott, Radisson Hotel Group, and Wyndham Hotels and Resorts requested more time as they will need to introduce specific technical updates so that UK customers are always shown the full cost of a room upfront when searching for hotels abroad.
CMA CEO Andrea Coscelli said: “Major websites and big hotel chains have agreed to clean up their act if they’ve been using misleading sales tactics, and have signed up to sector-wide consumer law principles on how to display important information to customers.
“The CMA will now be watching to make sure that these major brands, used by millions of people in the UK every year, stay true to their word. We will take action if we find evidence that firms are breaking consumer law.
“If the CMA finds that any sites fail to make the appropriate changes or becomes concerned that people are being misled, it will not hesitate to take further action.”