Hotel booking sites probed by consumer watchdog

8 704 0 administrator

Hotel booking sites probed by consumer watchdog

 

The hotel booking sites must be checked by an observer in the UK to find out if consumers are being misled.
The competition authority and the markets are concerned that instead of helping consumers, sites can actually hamper them.
CMA stated that it "is concerned about the clarity, accuracy and presentation of information on the sites."
During the investigation, areas such as hidden payments, search results and discount requirements will be considered.
Leading booking sites include Expedia and Booking.com.
In a statement, the Trivago booking site, which belongs to most Expedia, said: "Trivago will work with CMA to explain the benefits that it provides to consumers looking for their ideal hotel."
Booking.com said that this time he will not comment.
According to CMA, about 70% of people who go shopping for accommodation use hotel booking sites.
Nicola Arora, senior director of CMA, told the BBC Today program: "We are concerned about the clarity and accuracy of these sites. Instead of helping consumers, they can actually hamper them. "
She explained that the proposals offered by such sites were not evaluated solely on preferences introduced by the user.
"When you put your criteria - which room you want, when you want to stay - they are listed in a certain order. It depends not only on consumer preferences, but also on commissions - commercial considerations - and consumers may not be aware of this. "
 

Hotel booking sites probed by consumer watchdog

 

The British Hospitality Association (BHA) said it welcomes the probe, as many of its members are concerned about the "immense power" of online booking agencies.
He stressed "high commission rates, the use of misleading information, selling pressure and lack of transparency."
"In the process, guests are paid more than they should for numbers."
The BHA also stated that the terms of the contract with some sites often included provisions that stopped the hotel offering a lower price on its own website than offered by the online agent.
Simon Calder, editor of Travel Independent, also stressed the commission rates: "The starting rate is 15%, which means that £ 15 for every £ 100 is accepted by the intermediary.
"Hotels sometimes pay an even larger commission for increased visibility, ie, they give the booking site even more in exchange for a higher profile in the search results."
He says he has a tendency to go directly to the hotel to see if they will match the online bet and "it is possible to provide a bonus, such as a welcome drink or a complimentary breakfast in the deal."

 

Hotel booking sites probed by consumer watchdog

 

CMA has written to companies throughout the sector. He seeks evidence both on the websites and in the hotels, and he would like the consumers to contact him and share their experiences.
It will look at how the search results are evaluated, and also wants to get additional information about whether additional charges such as taxes and booking fees will be displayed.
Another area that you are looking at is the way that websites are displayed, how many rooms there are, how many people are viewing a particular hotel and messages that claim that the last time a similar room was booked.
Ms. Arora said that CMA wants to hear how the sites have collected information for these claims.
CMA is concerned that this is used to "sell pressure", creating a "false impression about the availability of numbers or the desire of customers to make a decision on booking."
Social worker Valentin Danchu from Ipswich told the BBC that he used the hotel booking website to book an apartment in Germany that was advertised for £ 31 a night.
However, upon confirmation of the reservation, it also included a maintenance fee of EUR 22 and a cleaning fee of EUR 45.
Mr. Danchzhu said that he has used hotel booking sites for many years, but this time seems to have missed a small imprint. He said that until he received a confirmation by e-mail, he was not given any indication that the total amount would be more than 90 pounds sterling.
Investigation of web sites in hotels follows the year-round CMA probe at price comparison sites.
CMA concluded that price comparison sites are best suited for car insurance and the worst for broadband access.