World’s Largest Hotel Chain Gives Pricing Power Back to Booking Sites
Britain’s InterContinental Hotels Group will give online travel agents Expedia.com and Priceline.Com Inc’s Booking.com more leeway to cut room rates in a bid to assuage watchdog charges it was limiting competition.
The Office of Fair Trade last year accused IHG, whose portfolio includes Holiday Inn and Crowne Plaza, of concluding agreements that effectively set a bottom for prices by getting the websites to agree not to use cuts in their own commission to reduce the prices they offered.
The case is viewed as a test case for the sector as a whole and was in response to a complaint from another website, Skoosh.com, which said that a number of hotel chains were preventing it from offering such discounted prices on room-only accommodation.
Industry watchers say InterContinental, like other hotel groups, is trying to keep some control of the market prices of its rooms so that its own web sales are not sharply undercut by agencies like Booking.com, Expedia or Skoosh.