Expedia is to axe clauses relating to rate parity in contracts with all its European hotel customers. In what could be seen as another landmark moment in the ongoing rate parity debate in Europe.
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Expedia announced today the change will take place from the 1st August this year and relate to all rates, conditions and availability clauses for a period of five years.
The company says the move is in line with those recently offered by rival agency Booking.com.
Expedia says the changes reflect those accepted by the regulators in France, Italy and Sweden at the same time as Booking.com’s alterations.
A statement says: “While Expedia maintains that its current rate, conditions and availability parity clauses are lawful and in compliance with competition law, Expedia considers that today’s announcement is a positive step towards facilitating the closure of the open investigations into such clauses on a harmonised pan-European basis.”
The switch will apply to all hotel properties in Europe and effective for all consumers using Expedia’s sites around the world, such as the Expedia mothership, Hotels.com and Venere.
The statement adds: “To the extent that individual countries’ regulatory or legislative developments may in the future cut across Expedia’s change of commercial policy announced today, Expedia naturally reserves the right to adjust its revised approach as appropriate.”
Still, a decision two weeks ago ratified by the French government to kill rate parity triggered a feisty response from Booking.com. It claimed the decision may “lead to an exacerbated price war, affecting the margins of hotels and in the end the quality of the offer”, with hoteliers “likely to suffer”.