Online travel companies STILL using pressure tactics to panic people into booking

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Online travel sites are still using pressure tactics to panic people into booking hotel rooms, a probe claimed.

Which? found claims such as “one room left at this price” or “booked four times in the last 24 hours” could push customers into booking. But the study found in some cases there were more than 50 rooms available.

In February, Expedia, Booking.com, Trivago, Hotels.com, Agoda and Ebookers were pulled up by the Competition and Markets Authority. They were ordered to stop giving a false impression of a room’s popularity or discounts and told to be upfront about the full cost of a booking,

But with the deadline not until September 1, Which? travel editor Rory Boland, said: “Millions are still going to be duped this summer. You’re usually better off calling the hotel for the best rate anyway.”

The CMA said: “Six of the largest sites have committed to bring an end to misleading sales tactics and hidden charges.”

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In a statement Trivago said: “Trivago compares the hotel prices we receive from many different booking sites according to the dates specified by each customer.

“There are occasionally differences between prices and we are working to mitigate these effects so that each and every customer can find their ideal hotel.

“We appreciated the opportunity to work with the CMA over the past year to establish a single roadmap for online travel companies in the UK. Of note, the CMA made no finding that the practices of any site were misleading and we made no admission in this respect.

“Now that the CMA has established clear guidelines for the UK sector, we will of course follow them to the extent they are applicable to us.”

People could be pressured into buying

A CMA spokesperson said: “Six of the largest hotel booking sites have already committed to bring an end to misleading sales tactics and hidden charges, thanks to CMA action. Some have already made important changes.

“Our work hasn’t stopped there – we have written to all booking sites and hotel firms demanding that they fall in line with the same standards so people can be sure the deal they choose is the best one for them.

“All these sites have until September 1 to fully comply but if they don’t, the CMA is prepared to take further action against them.”


Trivago said: “We appreciated the opportunity to work with the CMA over the past year to establish a single roadmap for online travel companies in the UK.

“Now that the CMA has established clear guidelines for the UK sector, we will of course follow them to the extent they are applicable to us.”

Expedia Group said: “Expedia Group continuously aims to deliver attractive travel options at affordable prices in transparent, clear and easy to understand ways, so that our customers can make informed travel choices.

“That’s why we have invested significant time and energy into working closely with the CMA to create a helpful industry standard for all UK booking sites offering accommodation search and booking services.”

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