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Online hotel portal HRS's 'best price' clause violates competition law – Proceedings initiated against other hotel portals

Date of issue: 20.12.2013

The Bundeskartellamt prohibited HRS from continuing to apply its 'best price' clause (most favoured nation clause). Proceedings are initiated against the online hotel portals Booking and Expedia because of similar clauses in their hotel contracts,

HRSkebox/Fotalia.com)

The Bundeskartellamt prohibited HRS from continuing to apply its 'best price' clause (most favoured nation clause) and ordered the company to delete it from its contracts and general terms and conditions by 1 March 2014 as far as the clause affects hotels in Germany.

Only at first view do most favoured customer clauses used by online booking portals seem to benefit consumers. Ultimately the clauses prevent the offer of lower hotel prices elsewhere. Most favoured customer clauses thus restrict competition between existing online portals. Moreover, they make the market entry of new platforms considerably more difficult because they prevent new platforms from offering hotel rooms at lower prices. For these reasons we have now also initiated proceedings against the online hotel portals Booking and Expedia because of similar clauses in their hotel contracts.

For more information see the following press releases:

Online hotel portal HRS's 'best price' clause violates competition law – Proceedings also initiated against other hotel portals (20.12.2013)
Bundeskartellamt continues to view HRS's best price clause critically (25.07.2013)
Bundeskartellamt examines HRS best price clause (10.02.2012)