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Booking.com has ordered hotels to remove a widget that displays its rates for the property alongside other online travel agencies.
A letter sent to hoteliers which have installed the Price Check widget provided byTriptease have been told they have until the end of this week (November 27) to remove the feature or ensure Booking.com’s branding and rates do not appear.
Triptease’s Price Check widget works by sitting on the result pages of hotel websites, and kicks into action by showing the price for a room at the property at three OTAs.
The idea is that the consumer will see a demonstration “that the price is fair” and potentially book direct with the hotel if it sees that the price is cheaper than on the large OTAs.
Triptease claims the tool can increase direct hotel bookings by up to 35%.
The Priceline Group-owned hotel booking service says Triptease is “unlawfully accessing” data to collate the information provided on the widget.
Furthermore, it also points out that by showing the data, which it says is “often misleading, inaccurate and misrepresents the prices and availability being for rooms at your hotel on Booking.com”, hotels could be in breach of advertising regulations in the European Union and elsewhere around the world.
The company has instructed its lawyers to pursue the matter with Triptease and says it will also be taking legal action against hoteliers as each will then be considered in breach of their contracts with Booking.com.
Triptease CEO Charlie Osmond claims the service is “not a war against OTAs”, adding:
“We believe Booking.com delivers a great deal of value to hotels and consumers. But they also suck a lot of value, especially from the independent hotelier.”
Here is a short clip on how the Triptease system works:
It’s unclear if micro-meta widgets could help strengthen rate parity, or if they might weaken it.