Booking.com, an operating business of The Priceline Group, has announced its support of recent decisions by the National Competition Authorities in France, Italy and Sweden to accept amendments to Booking.com’s parity commitments in respect of hotels located in those countries.
Under the new commitments, Booking.com will abandon its price, availability and booking conditions parity provisions with respect to other online travel agencies. This will create an environment that supports increased transparency and competition among online travel agencies which will ultimately benefit consumers, as well as hoteliers, by encouraging the freedom for properties to offer different pricing and booking policies (e.g. free cancellation, WIFI, breakfast) through different online travel agencies.
The commitments do allow Booking.com to retain its “narrow MFNs” for prices and booking conditions which will ensure hotels offer the same rates and booking conditions on Booking.com as they do through their own direct website. Furthermore, the commitments do allow Booking.com to require a minimum allocation, or some availability, from hotels.
The company claims that this assurance of being able to offer competing prices and being able to offer rooms allows Booking.com to continue to provide consumers a service that delivers transparency, access to information, choice, value and a seamless experience for consumers, and also allows Booking.com to continue to serve as a highly cost-effective marketing channel for hotels, by helping the hotels to market and promote their property to consumers around the world, reach new subsets of travelers and ultimately fill their rooms to keep their businesses growing.
“Our business and teams are driven by one goal, which is to deliver an amazing, unrivaled experience to our global customers who use us to find and book accommodations in a simple, convenient and trustworthy way, both here in Europe and around the world,” said Darren Huston, CEO of Booking.com. “We welcome and encourage fair competition in the marketplace because competition drives innovation, efficiencies, and most importantly, greater value for consumers. We believe today’s decisions represent a continued, coordinated effort to promote competition in a way that supports innovation and encourages companies like ours to continue to invest in the capacity and technical solutions that ultimately result in more customers for our partners and more tourism across Europe and abroad.”
Booking.com intends to implement these commitments throughout the European Economic Area and is working with all other European National Competition Authorities towards this objective. Booking.com trusts that its commitments will set the tone for an industry wide solution which all European NCAs will endorse and safeguard.