Fighting unfair OTA restriction of competition

The duopoly Online Travel Agency situation in Australia is rightfully causing concern to hoteliers. We are working closely with the ACCC to demonstrate the dangers to fair competition that this aggregation is causing. The ACCC is reviewing the situation following the purchase of Wotif by Expedia and we have identified a number of factors that need to be examined when determining the impact of the duopoly on competition.

These include:

– a need to review T&Cs in agreements to identify anti competitive behaviours such as additional fees charged to guests; additional fees charged to hotels; rights to on sell to third parties;

– transparency in identifying commission levels of OTAs versus offline agents;

– need to address the OTA’s practice of buying hotel brand names online-to compete with hotels for their own guests;

– the importance of looking not only at revenue impacts but changes in profitability

TAA will continue to make a strong case to the ACCC review that the hotel industry and consumers have been affected adversely by the significant reduction in OTA competition.

Recent events such as Booking.com’s participation in Instant Booking on TripAdvisor which strengthens TripAdvisor and the approval from antitrust officials in the US for Expedia to acquire rival Orbitz in a $1.3 billion deal, demonstrate the increasing consolidation of power by the OTAs, which impacts hotel profitability.