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Saturday, 17 August 2013 price fixing, dublin hotels, hotel fraud, false advertising, hotel marketing Price fixing

Ireland like most tourist destinations has become caught up in the web of online Booking sites, the majority of people when Booking a hotel or guesthouse in Ireland believe that they are getting a better deal when they Book with the big foreign Booking engines, in fact they are not getting a better deal and they are in fact delivering a raw deal to small and medium sized hotels as those foreign Booking sites take significant commission from Bookings on such sites. allegedly offers 'up to 75%' savings on hotel rooms in their display advertising (see, image below) however, this is a total and complete lie, as these Booking engines have agreed price parity with the actual hotels they are selling, it is simply fraudulent advertising. Fraud

Medium and small sized hotels and guesthouses are being bullied by foreign multi-nationals to the point that small and medium sized businesses are going into receivership and often liquidation. Large foreign Booking sites such as are harassing small and medium sized businesses into a price-fixing cul de sac, demanding that small and medium sized hotels and guest houses only offer the same room price as being offered by the multi-national bullies.

Hotel Bookings

When people are Booking a hotel or guest house in Ireland they should Book direct on the website of their chosen hotel or phone the hotel or guest house to make a direct booking, this means that the full payment goes directly to protecting Irish jobs and businesses.
However, Irish Hotel and Guesthouse owners are not blameless in this corporate fight between David and Goliath, during the economic boom years many hotel and guesthouse owners sat back and threw money at ill-advised advertising campaigns, that were neither monitored or measured, staff were not properly audited to see if they could add value to the businesses by engaging with more cost-effective online advertising campaigns through social media and so forth.

Irish Hotels

In fact the corporate bullies are doing what they are doing because they can, Irish hoteliers and guesthouse owners have failed to compete on customer service and value for money, and in so doing they have allowed the corporate foreign bullies to dominate the market on price fixing competitiveness. The net effect is that there is no competition, the market has flat lined both in terms of geographical locations and star ratings. The large corporate bullies are not without their sleveens within Ireland, there are companies who are working hand in glove with the foreign bullies ensuring that the market remains flat-lined and small and medium traders have their margins squeezed by inflated commissions, commissions that are protecting jobs in foreign countries while Irish hotels and guest houses go into liquidation and more Irish workers become unemployed.
The time has come for Hoteliers, big, medium and small to get off their assets, get back into the market place through hard graft and innovation and together take on the foreign corporate bully boys. Protect Irish jobs, protect Irish business by Booking Direct on the website of your chosen hotel or guest house.

Hotel Price Parity

Are we seeing the floodgates beginning to open with the hotel price parity issue? Perhaps so, with news of another attempt at a class action in the US against online travel agencies and hotel chains.

The latest to emerge has materialised in the state of Texas where an individual, James Smith on San Antonio, who has cited the same names in the industry as last week’s class action in California:

Hotel Booking Engines

  • Orbitz
  • Expedia
  • Travelocity
  • Priceline
  • Sabre
  • Trump International Hotels
  • Kimpton Hotel & Restaurant Group
  • InterContinental Hotels Group
  • Hilton Worldwide
  • Starwood Hotels & Resorts
  • Marriott

Hotel Price Fixing Court Cases

In the court documents filed at Dallas Federal Court, Smith highlights a recent experience when he tried to book a room in Las Vegas via Expedia.

Smith says he was unable to get the best deal because the hotel (Treasure Island Hotel and Casino) because of an alleged secret agreement between it and Expedia so that customer do not pay less than a “guaranteed minimum mark-up”.

He adds that he was forced to pay “artificially inflated prices due to the conspiracy and has been damaged by the conduct” of the defendants.

The documents filed in Texas are almost identical in terms of structure and wording of the complaint, hinting at a wider and coordinated grass-roots campaign emerging.

The California and Texas class actions come just just three weeks after a UK regulator issued a “statement of objections” to Expedia, and InterContinental, alleging the two OTAs entered in to individual agreements with the hotel giant which “restricted the online travel agency’s ability to discount the price of room-only accommodation”.

The defendants in the case(s) are currently keeping quiet, with no commentary emerging from any of the companies cited in the two class actions.

Hotel Price Fixing Cases

  1. Hotel price fixing saga switches to the US with class action against Expedia and others
  2. Hotel price fixing case will likely do little but generate legal fee bonanza
  3. Online travel agencies lose $20M Texas class action on hotel taxes