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Expedia relaxes its price parity clauses

After Booking.com, it was Expedia's turn to revise its price parity clauses that have been the subject of investigation by French, Italian and Swedish competition authorities.

In the wake of Booking.com, Expedia announced its intention to revise agreements with its hotel partners to put an end to the investigation being carried out by the French, Italian and Swedish competition authorities. The on-line agency will thus renounce "its so called parity clauses concerning price, conditions and availability" for a five year period. These changes will be applicable to all European hoteliers from August 1, 2015 will concern consumer reservations through the websites Expedia (including Expedia.com, Hotels.com and Venere.com, among others) worldwide.

Expedia thus renounced prohibiting hoteliers from selling their rooms directly for less, and its right to lower prices on its sites if the hotelier lowers its prices, as well as to the last available rooms. If the first two conditions had been highly criticized by French, Italian and Swedish competition authorities, the third was validated by the French justice.

The on-line travel agency affirmed its desire to make it easier to close investigations regarding these clauses, which it nonetheless considers licit and in keeping with competition laws. Expedia nonetheless reserves "the right to adjust its approach in the hypothesis where regulatory evolution and national legislatures would go against change in commercial policies."

Expedia's announcement comes when the Competition Authority delivered its verdict a few months ago that was favorable to hoteliers in the conflict that has opposed them against OTAs for several years. It succeeded in ordering Booking.com to accept a change in its price parity clause and to pressures all clauses requiring parity obligations in terms of room availability or commercial conditions not only with regard to competitive platforms but also direct off-line channels to hotels and part of their on-line channels. The platform more recently extended this engagement to all of Europe.

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  • New commitments for Booking.com in Europe
  • Booking.com's promises have not won unanimity
  • Expedia takes over an online travel company in Asia-Pacific
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