Can you trust your favourite hotel booking site?

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Who are BL Claims Solicitors

BL Claims Solicitors specialise in personal injury, clinical negligence and travel claims, providing our clients with hands-on support, nationally.

We are rated as one of the top firms in the UK and believe in speaking to our clients in jargon-free language and ensuring you're speaking to a highly qualified lawyer right from the outset

I know which online hotel booking sites are the ones where I will be able to search and find the best deal in terms of star rating, location, facilities and price quickly and easily.

An investigation by the OFT, however, has found that two of the most well known sites, and Expedia, may have breached competition rules by entering into agreements with Intercontinental Hotels Group. Click here to read more.

The findings of the OFT are only preliminary and the companies involved will now have a chance to respond fully to the points raised by the investigation.  The suggestion is that by entering into agreements with IHG, the websites have effectively fixed pricing.  Price fixing will always have an anti-competitive effect; by its very nature it does not benefit consumers.  The question for the authorities is what is the substance and what is the effect of the agreements that are in place.

Rate parity is well known throughout the travel industry.  This is where prices are kept at fixed pre-set levels.  This is one of the reasons you may not find much difference in price as you shop around from site to site for the same hotel room.  What some websites are able to do is under-cut their competitors by sharing the commission they receive for selling a given hotel's rooms with customers. 

You can guarantee that the OFT will seek to come down hard on any practice which could have a detrimental impact on consumers and which distorts the market., Expedia and IHG may be the "test" case for online hotel business as it is thought such practices, in some guise or other, can be found throughout the industry.

Chris Deacon

Solicitor - Claims Abroad team

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