Russian travel agency complains to FAS on Booking.com
A complaint has been filed with FAS on Booking.com, which provides about half the volume of hotel reservations in Russia. The author of the complaint is the OnlineTour travel agency, which accuses Booking.com of unfair competition, Kommersant writes . According to the travel agency, the requirements of the Booking.com service lead to an overestimation of the cost of accommodation in the entire domestic hotel services market.
Not one complaint was submitted to Booking.com, but two at once. They indicate that the activity of the reservation service violates two laws of the Russian Federation at once - “On Protection of Competition” and “On Advertising”.
The Online Tour company believes that Booking.com prescribes in the text of the contract with hoteliers-counterparties that the cost of accommodation in the reservation system should be the lowest. This is supposedly done so that the client does not have the opportunity to book a room on the hotel’s website cheaper than Booking.com. And this, in the long run, leads to monopolization by the reservation market service.
In the second complaint, On-line Tour expresses doubt that the message with the declaration of “best price” and “booking without commission” on Booking.com reflects the real situation.
Agency management is confident that the cost of hotels at tour operators is often lower than the price of a reservation system. For example, booking a room at Belconti Resort Hotel for a certain period is $ 1453, and on the website of the tour operator Intourist, for the same period of time - only $ 1385.
According to the head of Online Tour Igor Blinov, now Russian travel agencies are unhappy that Booking.com receives 18-25% of the agency commission. And this is happening against the backdrop of the growth of 50% of the domestic tourism market. Due to the fact that the contract between hoteliers and reservation systems has a clause on the "best price", the average cost of accommodation automatically increases. This price includes the commission for Booking.com. If prices become lower, then the market will grow, and agents will also receive more.
In December 2014, Booking.com agreed to remove the “best price” clause from hotel contracts in some European countries. The reason was the long antitrust proceedings in Italy, Sweden and France.