The antitrust regulator of Germany ordered to end practice, which enables booking portals offer best prices on rooms that are lower than same rooms on official websites of hotels. Popular booking portal booking.com has become the first company that was ordered to fix that.
According to the official release of the Bundeskartellamt, the popular practice of “best prices” is against free economy and it affects competition rules. Therefore, the government ordered to end the clause by January 31, 2016. Indeed, in order to boost sales, many hotels have to offer their rooms to booking portals at privileged conditions. For example, booking.com accepted lowest rates from hotels, maximum room capacity, best conditions for booking and cancelation of hotel rooms. As it was mentioned by Andreas Mundt, president of cartel office, the best price clause makes it impossible for hotel booking portals to compete with each other, and even makes hotels themselves unable to compete with selected booking websites that offer their rooms. Currently, the restrictions involve booking.com, the German government is also investigating another popular portal expedia.com.