Booking.com promises to end manipulative sales practices in the EU - gHacks Tech News

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Booking.com promises to end manipulative sales practices in the EU

If you have ever been to one of the big hotel and flight booking portals on the Internet, you may have noticed sentences like "Only 1 room like this left on our site", "other persons showed interest in this hotel in the last 24 hours", "the room is popular", or "time limited offer".

Hotel and flight booking portals like Booking.com use these to  convey a sense of urgency to people interested in finding a hotel or flight in order for them to make rash decisions.

booking.com changes eu

According to a Reuters report, Booking.com will stop using manipulative sales practices in the European Union from June 16, 2020 onward.

The European Commission said on Friday that Booking.com had committed to end “manipulative techniques” on its travel site, such as time-limits for making bookings and misrepresentation of discounts.

One of the main issues that the European Commission had was that some of the information that Booking.com displayed on its site would not provide any context. The "only x rooms" message for example meant only that Booking.com could not provide any more rooms to interested users but it did not necessarily mean that the hotel itself or competing services would not have any rooms either anymore.

The European Commission noticed other practices that it considered anti-consumer. Booking.com used sales and promotions to advertise certain hotel room offers but when these ran out, it was often the case that the price would not change at all.

Changes that Booking.com will implement by June 2020 include making it clearer that the number of rooms available only reflect rooms available through Booking.com and not necessarily other portals or the hotel directly.

Other changes include stopping the practice of highlighting offers as time limit if the same price applies after the time limit expires, that discounts "represented genuine savings", that the total price is displayed in a "clear way", and to indicate whether an accommodation is offered by a private host or professional.

The Competition and Markets Authority in the UK managed to get formal commitments from six online hotel booking sites after it launched an investigation in sales practices in late 2017. The six sites, among them Booking.com, Expedia, and Trivago, "provided formal commitments to change practices on their websites which the CMA considers may be misleading consumers".

Now You: do you book hotels and flights online?

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Booking.com promises to end manipulative sales practices in the EU
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Booking.com promises to end manipulative sales practices in the EU
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Booking.com will stop using manipulative sales practices in the European Union from June 16, 2020 onward.
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Ghacks Technology News
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Comments

  1. Wybo said on December 23, 2019 at 11:18 am
    Reply

    I never book to aggregrators. Booking directly works best for me and usually even a bit cheaper.

    1. Emil said on December 24, 2019 at 10:25 pm
      Reply

      Every hotel will be happy to give you 10% off as the online portals take at least 15% comission.

  2. sarah said on December 23, 2019 at 11:51 am
    Reply

    All these large companies are scummy only some are a bit more scummy than others. Not one is to be trusted.

  3. Kincaid said on December 23, 2019 at 12:55 pm
    Reply

    From this article, it sounds like the changes will only affect certain regions, which is very telling.

    When any salesperson/website says “limited time only” or “only 3 left”, I don’t trust them, and never use their services. I also will never recommend them to others.

    If you can’t be honest and straightforward with me, I’m not sharing any of my income with you, and will advise others to steer clear.

  4. Herman Cost said on December 23, 2019 at 2:48 pm
    Reply

    It is almost always better to book directly, as I have unfortunately experienced. If there ever is a problem with your reservation, you can have a lot of trouble getting it sorted out because the aggregator can say it is the hotel/airline’s problem and the hotel/airline can blame the aggregator. Even when the aggregator tries to be helpful in getting the problem resolved, they may not be able to do so.

  5. ilev said on December 23, 2019 at 6:26 pm
    Reply

    Booking.com also displays different price for the same order according to customer’s country of origin.

  6. Khai said on December 23, 2019 at 6:26 pm
    Reply

    “Booking.com promises to end manipulative sales practices in the EU – that the EU know about”

    there. fixed it…

  7. anonymous said on December 23, 2019 at 7:36 pm
    Reply

    Hotels.com bombards the user with tons of “urgency” pop-ups, too. I use uBlock Origin to zap those away permanently. Who wants to be constantly annoyed by a site they’re using?

  8. Yuliya said on December 23, 2019 at 9:41 pm
    Reply

    Craps like this is considered legal. Fucking hell…

    1. ULBoom said on December 24, 2019 at 4:03 am
      Reply

      It probably isn’t but there are so, so many lawsuits and legal threats against dishonest online companies with the globe as a market, immense resources are needed to pursue them. Better to give these guys a chance to straighten up before dropping 16 tons on their heads.

  9. ULBoom said on December 24, 2019 at 3:58 am
    Reply

    I tend to avoid anything phone culture deems important; I book directly. If you need to cancel or extend a stay, going direct almost never causes problems. Middlemen working on a cash flow basis until they go belly up are almost nothing but problems.

    Ebay has a lot of this rush, rush, rush stuff, “1000 sold, only 3 left.” Below, the same seller has the same item for 2c more with “1000 sold, over 500 left.” Below that, another seller has the same item for 3c more with no silly numerical taunts. Buy from them.

    Poor regulation works both ways, screw the sellers before they screw you.

  10. Assaf said on December 25, 2019 at 12:51 pm
    Reply

    Well, I’ve published several weeks ago a Chrome extension that blocks all these stressful messages. 17000 users and counting :)

    https://chrome.google.com/webstore/detail/no-stress-booking/kkfmoaflbacidmgmkddkhjfdepckmggg

  11. MartinFan said on December 25, 2019 at 11:51 pm
    Reply

    Wow politicians that actually do something for internet users. Hey Europe can we here in the USA borrow your politicians for awhile until they clean up America’s internet?

  12. Anonymous said on January 2, 2020 at 4:28 pm
    Reply

    “Booking.com will stop using manipulative sales practices in the European Union from June 16, 2020 onward.”

    They need 6 months to remove several lines of code. Yeah, right. Let’s allow them another 6 months of manipulation because there is only one front-end developer at Booking.com…

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