The authority that monitors competition in Spain announced on Monday an investigation against the Booking.com site, a global giant for internet hotel reservations, for possible “anti-competitive practices” that would affect hotels and travel agencies.
The investigation will focus on “practices that could lead to an abuse of Booking.com’s dominant position” in the hotel reservations market, the National Markets and Competition Commission (CNMC) explained in a statement.
This measure is announced after the CNMC received two complaints from the Spanish Association of Hotel Directors and the Hotel Business Association of Madrid, which accuse the reservation site of having imposed unfair conditions on Spanish hotels, the statement detailed.
According to the Spanish authority, these conditions could have generated a “situation of economic dependence” for hotels, with “exclusionary effects” for certain travel agencies and “other online sales channels”.
These practices would constitute “an act of unfair competition that could distort free competition affecting the public interest,” stressed the CNMC, which has a period of 18 months to investigate the file and make a decision.
What is booking?
This company was created in 1996 and based in the Netherlands, Booking.com has been the subject of several lawsuits for “unfair competition” in recent years, presented by hotel associations, particularly in the European Union.
Faced with these cases, the online reservation giant reviewed its commercial strategy several years ago, allowing establishments to offer more advantageous rates if the reservation is in person or by telephone.