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Google in the crossfire for EU market test: The European hospitality industry opts for stricter commitments
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- PRESS RELEASE -
Google in the crossfire for EU market test:
The European hospitality industry opts for stricter commitments
Brussels, 27 May 2013 – HOTREC, the business association
representing the European hospitality industry, makes its points clear when
replying to the proposed commitments of Google in relation to the EU competition
case in course against the search engine. Hospitality businesses expect that
organic search results on Google, making the direct link to the searched
establishments, should always appear on top of results and should not be put
down after advertisements and links to other Google services, thus putting them
in competitive disadvantage.
Following the call by the European Commission,
HOTREC sent its contribution on the competition case in process against Google,
the most influential search engine in Europe and worldwide. The atomistically structured
hospitality markets in Europe, which are still characterized by mainly micro
and many small and medium sized enterprises, are facing practises in the field
of natural/organic search and metasearches that more and more hoteliers
consider being imbalanced or unfair.
response to the proposed commitments of Google in the current competition case,
HOTREC is stressing that for these small enterprises it is crucial not to be
put down in the search results of Google by advertisements and links to other,
partly Google run, commercial websites, diverting traffic away from the website
of the searched for properties. Unfair treatment in displaying natural search
results is causing considerable financial damage to the hospitality industry.
HOTREC is of the strong opinion that any type of commercial search results
should be clearly separated from organic results and sufficiently distinguished.
it should at least be forbidden that hotel names are used without the consent
of the owner among advertisements and search results, giving the impression of
providing a direct link to the searched for service or establishments, but in
reality diverting traffic to other third party websites.
offered so far by Google to address competition concerns by the Commission are
not sufficient from our point of view. A stricter regulation is required and in
addition the Commission should start an initiative to ban brand bidding and
keyword advertising by OTAs on hotel names per se,” stipulates Kent Nyström, the President of HOTREC.
represents the hotel, restaurant and café industry at European level. This industry
includes around 1,7 million businesses, of which 99.5% are small and medium
sized enterprises (92% of them micro enterprises, i.e. employing fewer than
10 people). These businesses make up some 62% of industry value added. The
hospitality industry provides some 9,5 million jobs in the EU alone. Together
with the other tourism industries, the sector is the 3rd largest
industry in Europe. HOTREC brings together 44 national associations
representing the sector in 27 different European countries.
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