Hotel booking sites have been notoriously adept at using marketing tactics that hint at scarcity or use misleading headline discounts to encourage bookings. But this practice has come to an end as the big six make formal commitments to change their ways.
A government authority has stepped in after having “serious concerns”, to put a stop to these methods of pressure selling.
The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) underwent a probe last year and took enforcement action against six companies that regularly gave a false impression of a room’s popularity or didn’t display the full cost of a room upfront. These methods could mislead people and stop them finding the best deal and potentially be breaking consumer protection law.
This led to enrolling major booking engines into an initiative to create more clarity for consumers looking to book a holiday or hotel room.
The CMA tweeted that people booking hotels online can now do so with more confidence.
At least 25 hotel booking sites in the UK, including TripAdviser, Booking.com, Expediia, Agoda, trivago, and ebookers, have agreed to adhere to CMA principles for complying with consumer protection law.
That means consumers will have more reliable information including the full cost of a room including taxes, booking or resort fees in the headline price. Sites can still break that price down, but the total amount the customer has to pay should always be shown upfront.
CMA CEO Andrea Coscelli said:
“Major websites and 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 information to customers.
“If we find any sites fail to make the appropriate changes or if we become concerned people are being misled, we will not hesitate to take further action.”
More information is available on the CMA website