HOTEL booking websites have come under renewed scrutiny in Europe, with Britain’s consumer watchdog launching enforcement action over practices it says may be in breach of UK law.
The country’s Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) says an ongoing investigation has prompted widespread concerns over website practices, including whether a consumer’s search results are influenced by the level of commission paid by hotels.
It has highlighted “pressure selling” tactics and questioned the authenticity of claims about how many people are viewing a hotel or how many of its rooms remain available.
The authority has also raised doubts about discounts claimed on websites and the extent to which hidden charges are shown up front.
“We’re now demanding that sites think again about how they’re presenting information to their customers and make sure they’re complying with the law,” said the CMA’s chief executive Andrea Coscelli.
“Our next step is to take any necessary action — including through the courts if needed — to ensure people get a fair deal.”
The CMA has sent warning letters to a range of sites demanding they review practices, and has also referred some to the UK’s advertising watchdog over price guarantee claims.