The UK’s Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) has today launched enforcement action against a number of hotel booking sites that it believes may be flouting consumer protection legislation by making misleading claims about discounts.
The CMA, who launched its investigation into online booking sites in October 2017, has sent warning letters to a number of sites demanding they review their practices following widespread concern surrounding; ambiguous search results, misleading discount claims, hidden charges and pressure selling.
Avvio believes that the transparency and accuracy of information provided across all sales platforms is a positive and fundamental asset for customers.
We think customers have become fatigued and sceptical of the kind of pressure sales messages that don’t feel realistic. While Avvio has pioneered a number of innovative prompting techniques, we feel that accuracy of information is essential for customer confidence in the direct channel.
According to the CMA’s investigation, around 70% of people who shop around for accommodation use hotel booking sites, and over a quarter of Brits have booked the wrong hotel or selected incorrect dates due to pressure from comparison sites.
Following this enforcement, booking sites will now be required to address these concerns and review the way they rank and display rooms online. The action includes either securing legally binding commitments from those involved to change their business practices or, if necessary, the CMA can take them to court.
Last year Avvio released a trends report highlighting the vital and influential role Online Travel Agencies (OTAs) play in the global hotel industry, accounting for around 18% revenue. OTAs still have too much control over information provided to their guests, leading to widespread confusion online. Hotels should be able to own the customer journey right from the beginning.
At Avvio we provide the tools for hotels to use directly, providing complete transparency to our clients and ensuring the success of booking directly continues to be a cost-accurate and timely solution.
Part of the consultancy service we provide is to highlight any price discrepancies. We continue to display the full rates (including tax) to ensure customers have complete understanding around what they can expect to be charged, removing any risk of hidden charges and allowing our clients to confidently know they have chosen the best accommodation for their needs at the best price.