to amend rate parity in Europe to amend rate parity in Europe
21 APRIL 2015 6:52 AM
National Competition Authorities in France, Italy and Sweden have accepted rate parity amendments that will see abandon its price, availability and booking conditions parity provisions with respect to other OTAs.
AMSTERDAM, April 21, 2015--Today, an operating business of The Priceline Group announced its support of recent decisions by the National Competition Authorities in France, Italy and Sweden to accept amendments to's parity commitments in respect of hotels located in those countries. 
Under the new commitments, will abandon its price, availability and booking conditions parity provisions with respect to other online travel agencies.  This will create an environment that supports increased transparency and competition among online travel agencies which will ultimately benefit consumers, as well as hoteliers, by encouraging the freedom for properties to offer different pricing and booking policies (e.g. free cancellation, WIFI, breakfast) through different online travel agencies.
The commitments do allow to retain its "narrow MFNs" for prices and booking conditions which will ensure hotels offer the same rates and booking conditions on as they do through their own direct website. Furthermore, the commitments do allow to require a minimum allocation, or some availability, from hotels. This assurance of being able to offer competing prices and being able to offer rooms allows to continue to provide consumers a coveted and valuable service that delivers transparency, access to information, choice, value and a seamless experience for consumers, and also allows to continue to serve as a highly cost-effective marketing channel for hotels, by helping the hotels to market and promote their property to consumers around the world, reach new subsets of travelers and ultimately fill their rooms to keep their businesses growing.  
"Our business and teams are driven by one goal, which is to deliver an amazing, unrivaled experience to our global customers who use us to find and book accommodations in a simple, convenient and trustworthy way, both here in Europe and around the world," said Darren Huston, CEO of  "We welcome and encourage fair competition in the marketplace because competition drives innovation, efficiencies, and most importantly, greater value for consumers. We believe today's decisions represent a continued, coordinated effort to promote competition in a way that supports innovation and encourages companies like ours to continue to invest in the capacity and technical solutions that ultimately result in more customers for our partners and more tourism across Europe and abroad." intends to implement these commitments throughout the European Economic Area and is working with all other European National Competition Authorities towards this objective. trusts that its commitments will set the tone for an industry wide solution which all European NCAs will endorse and safeguard.


1 Comment

  • Max Starkov - HeBS Digital April 22, 2015 4:27 AM

    The rate parity provision is and has always been a hotelier’s invention that was imposed over the OTAs back in 2002-2003. All major brands enforce severely rate parity among their managed and franchised properties. A major brand would “punish” a franchisee that is out of parity IN ANY CHANNEL, not only OTA, by kicking them out of the brand CRS and its distribution machine and in many cases impose a hefty fine for any such occurrence. What had in Europe was an explicit paragraph in their agreements that a hotel cannot provide another OTA with a lower rate under any circumstances. Ex. A hotel in Vienna could not have an exclusive 24-hour sale on Expedia. Now they are removing this provision, but are keeping the most important provision in their agreement with the hotel, namely the one where the hotel website and direct distribution efforts have ALWAYS to be in rate parity with Here in the U.S. we already have exactly the same “new” provision that was now adopted in Europe. So in my view, there is nothing new and significant for with this recent settlement, and the main reason is as follows: To which other OTAs would an European hotel give lower rates to? There is nobody else in Europe that really matters! HRS? Expedia? In Europe Expedia is perceived only as the carrier of rich Americans (15 million of them) visiting Europe, and not a real threat to for in-country or regional travel or long-haul overseas travel, which is the bulk of European travel. will use its significant distribution power to keep hoteliers in line even without this provision. So in my view, the ultimate winner is since it has the regulators off its back, and its “concessions” are negligible and ultimately would not change the status quo in Europe.

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