Draft competition rules on vertical agreements fail to address unfair restrictions for hoteliers

The European Commission published a draft revised Vertical Block Exemption Regulation (VBER) alongside draft guidelines on 9 July 2021, opening the drafts to comment from stakeholders.

HOTREC’s response will focus on the outstanding issue of narrow price parity clauses imposed by online travel agents (OTAs) such as Booking.com and Expedia, which have become increasingly problematic for hotels over the course of the past decade. Despite national bans on narrow price parity clauses in Austria, Belgium, France and Italy and a recent landmark verdict by the German Supreme Court, the draft VBER would continue allowing OTAs to prevent hotels from offering better prices on their own websites than via the OTA platforms.

HOTREC considers that such narrow price parity clauses are unjustified, anti-competitive and detrimental for consumers – a view echoed by European Consumer organisation BEUC – and ultimately continue entrenching the dependency of hotels on online intermediaries. Conversely, national bans on narrow price parity clauses have led to lower hotel prices without a negative effect on demand. As such, HOTREC urges the European Commission to clearly qualify price parity clauses as hardcore restrictions in the updated VBER which is due to be published by next May 2022.

On a related topic, Members of the European Parliament’s various committees dealing with the Digital Markets Act have clearly identified narrow price parity clauses as a problematic issue:  amendments tabled by MEPs from all the major political groups aim to prevent digital gatekeepers from engaging in such practices.

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07 Sep
07/09/2022    
09:00 - 14:00
Draft Agenda for ExCom Meeting on 7 September 2022, Brussels Welcome by the President Anti-trust statement and approval of agenda Approval of minutes of the [...]
HOTREC Package Travel Directive webinar
14/09/2022    
11:00 - 12:00
Latest updates on the PTD review's timeline and policy measures envisaged incl. pre-payments, insolvency protection and cancellation rights. HOTREC will incorporate members' remarks into a revised version of HOTREC position paper and submit it to all for approval.
HOTREC SSD Committee preparatory meeting + update Social Affairs
19/09/2022    
10:00 - 12:00
Main outcome of teh meeting available
22 Sep
22/09/2022    
10:30 - 12:30
Recording of the working group on restaurants is available via WeTransfer until 03 October 2022: https://wetransfer.com/downloads/a1e6a6b32b734f7bf864d82b6470184920220926084450/7c966070da61a95549be6c9fbad2169b20220926084508/42d7ba
23 Sep
23/09/2022    
10:00 - 13:00
Updated agenda of the meeting available
29 Sep
29/09/2022    
All Day
On the 3rd edition of the International Day of Awareness of Food Loss and Waste (IDAFLW), celebrated on 29 September, the FAO and UNAP have [...]
Events on 07/09/2022
Events on 14/09/2022
Events on 23/09/2022