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Parity clauses from hotel distribution contracts to be banned once for all - says HOTREC
- PRESS RELEASE -
"Parity clauses from
hotel distribution contracts to be banned once for all”
Brussels, 16 December 2014 – HOTREC, the organisation representing the
hotel sector in Europe, opposes to any commitment by Online Travel Agents
trying to maintain parity clauses in hotel room distribution in one form or the
other. Complete entrepreneurial freedom of hoteliers shall be restored allowing
them to set their prices for any kind of distribution channel according to
their business purposes.
Commission announced yesterday the launch of market tests in the antitrust
investigations by the French, Swedish and Italian competition authorities in the
online hotel booking sector, as Booking.com has offered commitments in order to
"There are 3 major sites realising 90% of
hotel bookings via Online Travel Agents – the biggest one by far being
Booking.com - , compared to around 200.000, mainly small hotel enterprises in
Europe. From this proportion the bargaining power in the market is not
difficult to be judged, therefore the protection for the small ones is crucial.
Authorities should be careful in assessing who regulates the market and sets
the rules at the end.” – says Christian de Barrin, CEO of HOTREC.
current parity conditions applied on the market, hoteliers’ hands are bound and
their entrepreneurial freedom is undermined, as they are not able to decide
themselves which room prices and conditions to offer on the different
distribution channels. This is restricting competition and customers will be denied from the
possibility of enjoying the full benefits of competition.
"HOTREC calls upon competition authorities in
Europe to ban all types of parity
clauses from hotel distribution contracts, in order to allow hoteliers to
decide themselves, and not the retailers, on how and for which price their
hotel rooms are sold on the different distribution channels” – says Markus
Luthe, Chair of HOTREC’s Distribution Task Force.
It has to be
taken care of, that the European Digital Agenda and competition rules are not
benefiting in an imbalanced way the oligopolistic structure of hotel
distribution portals, but are taking into account SMEs, forming the backbone of
the European economy, and their entrepreneurial freedom.
HOTREC represents the hotel, restaurant
and café industry at European level. This industry includes around 1,8
million businesses, of which 99% are small and
medium sized enterprises (91% of them micro enterprises, i.e. employing fewer than 10 people). These businesses make up
some 59% of industry value added. The hospitality industry provides some 10.2 million jobs in the EU alone.
Together with the other tourism industries, the sector is one of the largest
industries in Europe. HOTREC brings together 42
national associations representing the sector in 27 different European
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