This is news that professionals in the French hospitality sector have been waiting for for a long time and which is sure to restore balance to the market.
For years now, all actors in the French hotel industry have been mobilised through the FHE (French Hospitality in Europe) association to develop a fair digital marketplace. The establishment of such a market would allow hotel operators to regain their commercial and pricing freedom with regard to reservation platforms.
As a reminder, France was the first country to ban rate parity clauses with the so-called Macron law of August 2015. This measure gave hotel operators back their commercial and pricing freedom. Other European Union member states followed suit, including Austria, Belgium, Italy and Portugal. Germany has done the same via the Competition Authority (Bundeskartellamt).
On March 24, 2022, negotiators from the European Parliament and the European Council reached an agreement on the EU Digital Single Market Regulation (DMA). This agreement includes a total ban on tariff parity clauses, both broad and narrow. This new text will make it possible to regulate the activity of the digital giants, which sometimes have a certain monopoly on the market thanks to their ever-growing reputation.
This "great European harmonisation" aims in particular to redistribute the cards with the big OTAs such as Booking and Expedia, leading at the same time to a decrease in the amount of commissions. Balanced contractual relations between these large international digital actors and the activity of small independents should thus be created.
This text also aims to ensure transparency, readability and reliability for consumers in terms of conditions and prices for online sales.
The growing domination of platforms has led more and more professionals to lose control of their own product. We are delighted that this text will enable a new balance to be struck in the commercial relations between hotels and online booking platforms, so that each hotel operator will finally be able to use digital media to offer its customers better prices and be more attractive! We look forward to the official adoption of the text by the Parliament and the Council, its publication and its entry into force!
Laurent Duc, President UMIH hotel branch and President of the FHE