Europe & Expedia Remain Leaders for Online Accommodation Booking in EU and Expedia remain the leading Online Travel Agents for hotel bookings in the European Union, and there is no sign of significant changes in the shares of this market or the entry of new travel agencies in the same, a study published by the EU Commission on Friday, August 26, has revealed.

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The market study, which was carried out last year and covered the period from 2017 to 2021 in the EU members of Austria, Belgium, Cyprus, Poland, Spain and Sweden, has pointed out that 44 per cent of rooms booked at independent hotels are booked through online travel agencies (OTAs).

The level of the room price and room availability differentiation applied by hotels both between different OTAs and between the hotels’ own websites and OTAs appears to have decreased,” the market study has found, in addition to the finding that commission rates paid by hotels to OTAs seem to have remained stable or at most, slightly decreased.

This study has been carried out in a bid of the EU to obtain up-to-date facts on hotels’ distribution practices and to establish whether these practices differ from one Member State to another.

It also intends to find out whether laws banning the use of wide and narrow parity clauses by online travel agents in two EU members – Austria and Belgium – have led to changes in hotels’ distribution practices in those two.

Laws in Austria and Belgium banning the use of wide and narrow OTA parity clauses in the hotel sector do not appear to have led to material changes in hotel distribution practices, relative to the other Member States covered by the study,” the study has found regarding the latter issue.

Whereas regarding room availability differentiation, 19 per cent of independent hotels claim that they favour their direct online sales channels with better room availability, compared with 30 per cent of hotels in 2016.

It also points out that in some countries, like Cyprus, nearly all independent hotels use OTAs, whereas, in Poland, only about two-thirds of hotels do so.

The Commission notes that the study will be taken into account by the Commission itself and the EU National Competition Authorities (NCAs) in their ongoing monitoring and enforcement work in the hotel accommodation distribution sector.

The competition in the hotel accommodation distribution sector is expected to be affected by the Digital Markets Act, which is an EU-wide legislation that intends to make sure that platform markets are contestable and that gatekeeper platforms offer fair terms to business users.

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