Posted on September 13, 2019 by staff

Government introduces new crackdown on UK hotel websites


Online hotel booking through the likes of TripAdvisor, Airbnb and Google will now be transparent after an overhaul by the government.

The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) department has secured changes from the majority of hotel booking sites operating in the UK.

Twenty five big tech firms, including TripAdvisor, Airbnb and Google, alongside major hotel chains have agreed to change how they display information.

The firms have also signed up to the CMA’s sector wide principles for complying with consumer protection law.

These principles include not giving a false impression of a room’s popularity and always displaying the full cost of a room upfront.

The CMA said most of the involved firms have already made the necessary changes.

Accor, IHG, Hilton, Marriott, Radisson Hotel Group, and Wyndham Hotels and Resorts requested more time, the CMA said, as will need to introduce specific technical updates so that UK customers are always shown the full cost of a room upfront when searching for hotels abroad.

The CMA said it will closely monitor these changes to ensure that these firms make the required changes in a timely manner.

The announcement follows enforcement action taken against 6 other hotel booking companies for serious concerts it raised around pressure selling and misleading discount claims.

It has now warned it will not hesitate to take further action against any sites fail to make appropriate changes.

It is also co-leading an international project with other consumer enforcement agencies, which aims to tackle these issues on a global basis.

CMA CEO Andrea Coscelli said: “People booking hotels online can now do so with more confidence thanks to the CMA’s action.

“Major websites and big hotel chains have agreed to clean up their act if they’ve been using misleading sales tactics, and have signed up to sector-wide consumer law principles on how to display important information to customers.

“The CMA will now be watching to make sure that these major brands, used by millions of people in the UK every year, stay true to their word. We will take action if we find evidence that firms are breaking consumer law.”