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In Germany, Booking.com ordered to remove all rate parity clauses from its contracts

Today's ruling from the Bundeskartellamt (Germany's Federal Antitrust Authorities) requires Booking.com to remove such clauses from its contracts by the end of January 2016. Hoteliers will be allowed to offer lower rates on their own websites, as they may already do through offline channels.

In Germany, Booking.com's current "Bestpreisklauseln" (best available rate clauses) required hotels and lodgings to offer the OTA the lowest price and the most favorable booking and cancellation conditions. Despite recently allowing hotels to offer lower rates through offline channels and to travel agencies, the company's terms and conditions still demanded the rate on the hotel's website to remain no lower than on Booking.com. This new form of Bestpreiseklauseln was implemented in July 2015.

According to the President of the Bundeskartellamt Andreas Mundt: "These so-called Bestpreisklauseln restrict both competition between the existing booking sites and competition between the hotels themselves. First of all, they infringe the hotels' freedom to set price on their own online sales channels. There is little incentive for a hotel to reduce its prices on an online reservation system if at the same time it has to display higher prices for its own online sales. Secondly, it still makes the market entry of new platform providers considerably difficult. The Bestpreisklauseln barely provide an incentive for hotels to offer their rooms for a lower price on a new platform, if they cannot implement these price reductions on their own websites as well. There is no apparent benefit for the consumer."

A December 23, 2015 ruling from the Federal Competition Authorities ordered the platform Booking.com to halt its strategy and remove all rate parity clauses from its contracts before January 31, 2016. The company still has the right to appeal to the Higher Regional Court of Düsseldorf, just like its competitor HRS unsuccessfully did a year ago after a similar decision from the Bundeskartellamt.

Also read:



  • Booking.com: rate parity clauses changed at the European level
  • New commitments for Booking.com in Europe
  • Booking.com's promises have not won unanimity
  • Booking has proposed a commitment to eliminate its price parity clause
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