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EU: Booking given 6 months to comply with restrictions, following EU "gatekeeper" designation

Added 2024-05-16

Description

Provoking excitement from many a hotelier and marketeer, the EU Commission has designated under the Digital Markets Act (DMA), Booking as a gatekeeper for its online intermediation service Booking.com. This means that the giant platform, under the threat of giant fines (up to 20% of global turnover), has 6 months to six months to comply with (or to decide how to object to) the relevant obligations, which call for choice and freedom to end users (guests) and fair access to businesses (hotels) including sharing relevant data with them. The chief complaint of Hotelier Unions across the EU has been Booking's alleged policy of preventing hoteliers from offering lower rates directly or through other (competing) digital distribution channels. It will be very interesting to see the outcome of this faceoff between giants and how it may affect the global OTA market and hotel marketing in general. Booking.com started in Amsterdam where it is still headquartered, but is owned by Booking Holdings, a Delaware company based in Norwalk, Connecticut and which, unbeknownst to the average consumer, also owns other well-known platforms such as Priceline, Agoda, Kayak, Cheapflights, Rentalcars and Momondo, several of which in turn have their own subsidiaries! Some hotelier unions, including the Santorini hoteliers association, also object to the platform's requirement for hoteliers to exclusively use the company's virtual card and being charged an extra commission for non-refundable discounted bookings. Booking is now the 7th 'gatekeeper' following Alphabet, Amazon, Apple, ByteDance, Meta and Microsoft, designated by the Commission in September 2023. Hopefully, the Commission will soon designate one more so that the number does not have the apocalyptic connotations of the 7 seals

Location

European Union
Brussels