A good mix of stories in this week’s Update, including another name change for one of the largest OTAs. Enjoy.
The CMA Declares Victory
("Major overhaul of hotel booking sector after CMA action," Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) (gov.uk) - All Content on Sep 13, 2019)
On Friday, the UK Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) issued a press release touting the number of online hotel booking sites that have now implemented the CMA’s sector wide principles for complying with the UK’s consumer protection laws. According to the CMA, 25 companies – including traditional OTAs, metasearch sites and major hotel chains – have agreed to change how they display rates, inventory and other booking information. What was perhaps most interesting about the press release, however, was the CMA’s announcement that it is co-leading an international effort by consumer protection agencies around the world to examine the hotel industry’s consumer protection law compliance. Details about this international effort can be found on the group’s website - https://www.icpen.org
Fall has definitely arrived here in the Pacific Northwest. This week’s OTA & Travel Distribution Update is below and features stories on TripAdvisor, Booking.com, Vacasa and the soon-to-be-effective, Strong Customer Authentication (SCA). Enjoy.
TripAdvisor Continues to Defend Claims of Fake Reviews
("TripAdvisor defends itself against claim that up to one in seven reviews might be fake," CNN Recent News on Sep 6, 2019)
It seems that every few months we hear claims that some material portion of TripAdvisor’s many guest reviews are suspect. The latest claim comes from UK consumer group Which? Travel, which claims that 1 in 7 reviews for the 10 top ranked hotels in 10 global destinations is fake. According to Which? Travel, it evaluated nearly 250,000 reviews for the top ranked hotels and found “blatant hallmarks” of fake reviews. What is perhaps most troubling about this latest claim, is that many of hotels identified by Which? Travel as benefitting from these allegedly fake reviews had been previously identified by TripAdvisor as using fake reviews within the past year (and in some cases, even penalized for the reviews). Hotels located in the Middle East and Las Vegas were identified as likely being some of the worst culprits.
Ettsa demands Europe-wide harmonisation of hotel booking rules
Travel Weekly (UK) - News on Aug 30, 2019
The European technology and Travel Services Association (Ettsa) has demanded EU regulators enforce tighter standards “on all players” in the accommodation-booking sector. Ettsa welcomed new standards imposed on the sector by the UK Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) which come into force on September 1.
Greg Duff founded and chairs Foster Garvey’s national Hospitality, Travel & Tourism group. His practice largely focuses on operations-oriented matters faced by hospitality industry members, including sales and marketing, distribution and e-commerce, procurement and technology. Greg also serves as counsel and legal advisor to many of the hospitality industry’s associations and trade groups, including AH&LA, HFTP and HSMAI.