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Booking has proposed a commitment to eliminate its price parity clause

Competition authorities have obtained a promise from the number-one booking websites to no longer force hotels to accept its prices.

Competition Authorities announced a proposed commitment from Booking.com to suppress its price parity clause requiring hoteliers to offer the same prices through all their distribution channels. The different channels were thus unable to apply rates that were lower than those offered by the booking giant, be it through the hotel's direct channels or other distribution platforms. Booking.com is now offering make commitments aimed to limit the current range of application of the clauses to the direct distributor of accommodations and to stop requiring hoteliers to enforce rate parity on accommodations with respect to other platforms and all other third party suppliers of booking services.

The promise from Booking.com "would allow hoteliers listed on Booking.com to offer rooms for different rates on the different reservation sites. They would be able to vary prices in function of conditions applicable to them on the different platforms," explains the Competition Authority, which will consult with sector players to determine whether or not this proposal is sufficient to "address concerns expressed during the investigation."

The new rate parity provisions should be implemented within six months of the Competition Authorities' acceptance of the proposed commitment. The decision concerns the French market as well as that of the rest of the European economic area.

The Competition Authority received complaints filed by Umih, GNC, CPIH, Synhorcat and FAGIHT in July 2013 regarding the practices of websites Booking.com, Expedia and HRS, in particular the price parity obligation, access to the last available room, and abusive listings using a property's distinctive signs.

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