UKHospitality and CMA to hold forums on online travel agents

Concern among hoteliers at the power exercised by online travel agents (OTAs) is to be the subject of a series of nationwide forum hosted by UKHospitality and the Competition and Mergers Authority (CMA).

Due to be held in Edinburgh, Cardiff, London, Birmingham and Manchester, the events will focus on the CMA’s ongoing consumer law investigation into online hotel booking platforms.

CMA experts will address the concern expressed by hoteliers regarding what are often regarded as non-negotiable OTA contract terms.

Rate parity, which is of particular concern to hotel operators, who see the same room prices across platforms and a lack of transparency for consumers online, will also be discussed.

Kate Nicholls, chief executive at UKHospitality, said: “We are leading the campaign for a fair market and a more competitive landscape. We are delighted to be working with the Competition and Markets Authority and to provide feedback from our members to inform discussion.

“We hope to find a balance between digital agencies operating globally and the many hospitality providers, often SMEs in our industry, who strive to provide the best possible hospitality for their guests.”

Cecilia Parker-Aranha, project director at the CMA, added: “We welcome this opportunity to work with UKHospitality and engage with hoteliers across the UK to explain our recent work in online hotel booking, both from a competition and consumer law perspective.”

UKHospitality is the new trade body which is in the process of being created from the merger of the Association of Licensed Multiple Retailers and the British Hospitality Association.

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