GVH Recommends Price Parity Ban for Online Booking Platforms

Tourism

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Hungary's Competition Office (GVH) has recommended that online booking platforms be prohibited from applying price parity provisions in a draft report compiled after an expedited probe of the sector.

Booking platforms that apply price parity provisions prohibiting tourism accommodation partners from advertising lower rates on their own websites or competitors' sites "restrict competition to be more efficient among various sales channels", GVH said, and recommended a legal ban on the practice, similar to ones in countries such as France, Austria, Italy, and Belgium.

GVH also recommended making accommodation rankings on platforms more transparent, explaining that the practice of putting partners that pay higher commissions at the top of lists, ahead of accommodations that may charge cheaper rates, could be confusing to consumers.

GVH proposed that general conditions of contracts between booking platforms and accommodations be regulated to ensure equitable treatment for both sides in the case of violations of terms. The watchdog noted that conditions in contracts at present are "uneven", favoring booking platforms.

GVH launched the probe of the sector late in August, after complaints by accommodation owners that they hadn't been paid by Booking.com.

Market players have 30 days to weigh in on GVH's recommendations.

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