Twenty-five holiday firms, including big brands such as TripAdvisor, Airbnb and Google have agreed to make prices more transparent following an investigation by a competition watchdog.
This includes “not giving a false impression of a room’s popularity” and always displaying the full cost of a room upfront.
The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) said a number of well-established firms have now signed up to new sector-wide principles to give better rights to holidaymakers.
It comes after the CMA took enforcement action against six other companies – Expedia, Booking.com, Agoda, Hotels.com, Ebookers and Trivago – over concerns around pressure selling, misleading discount claims and commission arrangements.
The watchdog said it was concerned that some of these practices were “misleading people” and preventing them from finding the best deal.
It added that there were concerns over the providers potentially breaking consumer protection laws.
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All six firms have now formally agreed to clean up their sites and make the agreed changes.
CMA chief executive Andrea Coscelli said: “Major websites and big hotel chains have agreed to clean up their act if they’ve been using misleading sales tactics, and have signed up to sector-wide consumer law principles on how to display important information to customers.
“The CMA will now be watching to make sure that these major brands, used by millions of people in the UK every year, stay true to their word. We will take action if we find evidence that firms are breaking consumer law.”
Naomi Leach at consumer group Which? said the CMA must now ensure that the whole industry complies with the changes.
“Which? has previously raised concerns about dodgy practices on hotel booking sites such as pressure-selling, misleading discounts and hidden charges so we welcome the commitments secured by the regulator.
“But until the whole industry complies with these rules and makes the necessary changes, holidaymakers are still at risk of being misled by unscrupulous practices.
“Consumers who want to avoid being caught out might find that their best option is to call their hotel directly – even if the headline price turns out to be the best available deal, an alternative discount or other incentive may be offered to secure the booking.”