Booking.com to extend the French, Italian and Swedish agreement across Europe
Booking.com have informed their accommodation partners that Booking.com will extend across Europe the agreement that had been reached with the French, Italian and Swedish National Competition Authorities about parity clauses.
“It is a pleasing step Booking.com have taken towards redressing the imbalance in the hostel:OTA relationship. It is a shame competition authorities were needed to trigger the change. To go beyond what was mandated in a few markets and extend these changes across Europe reflects the value Booking.com places on the accommodation owner relationships.”
“This is a positive step towards building fair and sustainable relationships with the property owners. I hope other OTAs and Booking.com continue to work with accommodation providers in the pursuit of fair and sustainable contracts.”
Carl Michel, fellow STAY WYSE Board member and Executive Chairman of Generator Hostels, adds that this change signals a positive move after the Sydney Declaration, although with more work still to be done.
“After our 2013 Sydney Declaration, which called for these changes, we also would hope that OTAs will be prevented from using 3rd party brand names in search engine marketing. These confuse end-users and raise the cost to the rightful brand name owners.”
Read on below for the commitments that Booking.com have issued to their accommodation partners. The communication sent out indicates that these changes will take effect as of 1 July 2015.
Summary of the new commitments
- “You may set different room rates and offer different conditions and availability on different OTAs
This means you don’t have to offer the same room rates, conditions and availability on Booking.com as other OTAs. This gives you greater flexibility to manage your offering across distribution channels.
- You may offer lower rates or better conditions through offline channels (such as telephone bookings and walk-ins) provided you do not publish or market offline rates online
We have had feedback that our partners want the ability to discount through offline reservation channels without having to give us the same or better rates. From now on, we will not require the same or better rates in respect of rooms sold via offline channels, provided that you do not market those offline rates online (e.g. on your website or on meta-search sites).
- There is no restriction on the unpublished room rates or conditions you may offer, provided you do not market those rates online
We understand it may be important for you to offer special rates to your loyal customers through non-public channels (such as closed-user groups) or to negotiate special rates on a bilateral basis (e.g. a special private group discount). Through the Commitments we have clarified this position.
- Freedom to market to all prior guests, even if they booked their stay through Booking.com
We have made it clear through our Commitments that nothing in our agreement with you shall prevent you from directly contacting prior customers of your accommodation, regardless of whether they booked their stay with you directly or through Booking.com. The only thing we would like to ask you is to comply with applicable (privacy and data protection) laws in your contact and communication with the customers.
- Parity with your own direct online channels and some availability
Going forward under the amended provisions, you are still contracted to give Booking.com parity in respect of room rates and conditions offered on your own website (which includes meta-search sites such as Trivago, Kayak or Google Hotel Finder when they redirect the consumer to your own website for booking). As set out above, we no longer require you to give us the same availability as our competitors, but in order to give meaning to our relationship, we require at least some availability in respect of all rooms and room-rate types.”
Source: Booking.com partner communications