Online Travel Update: Expedia President Anticipates Rebound In Leisure And Business Travel; Nevada court rules litigation against online travel agencies can continue; Booking.com loses legal battle in Germany | Foster Garvey PC

Nevada court allows litigation with online travel agencies (OTAs) to continue
(“Judge: Nevada Case Against Online Travel Agencies Continues”, May 18, 2021 via Vegas Inc – All Stories Headlines (Las Vegas, Nevada))
Last week, a Nevada state court ruled that litigation on behalf of the state of Nevada against several of the largest online travel agencies (OTAs) could continue. The litigation, like so many other lawsuits against OTAs in recent years, alleges OTAs have underpaid taxes owed on bookings. The industry will keep a close eye on these cases as their outcome will have a lasting effect.

Booking.com loses “close” parity defense
(“Booking.com loses German antitrust case over ‘tight’ hotel booking clauses,” May 18, 2021 via MLEX Insight; “Germany: hoteliers win against Booking.com, “May 18, 2021 via Le Figaro (translated))
With its ruling last week, the German Federal Court of Justice (Germany’s highest court) banned the use by online travel agencies (OTAs) of all so-called “narrow” parity provisions (or direct channel). In other words, German hoteliers are now able to offer lower rates on their own websites than OTAs offer, as well as different rates among their OTA partners. The move marks the culmination of a process that began in 2013 when the German competition authority determined that OTAs’ use of direct and indirect booking channels was anti-competitive. Even after Booking.com adopted close parity in 2015 (as it has successfully done in so many other countries to avoid anti-competitive controls), the German authority continued its efforts to ban the requirements of parity. In a statement in response to the recent High Court ruling, Booking.com expressed concern that the ruling could cause consumers to pay more for their stays. It remains to be seen if this actually happens and if the ruling will have an effect on other EU member states and their disparate approaches to tariff parity. In the meantime, German hoteliers have much to celebrate.


Other news:

Four key points of short-term rental and the open-air summit of Skift
May 20, 2021 via Skift Travel News (subscription may be required)
The short-term rental, vacation home rental and outdoor adventure sectors have been the most resilient sectors of the travel industry during the pandemic. Brands have used recent waves of consumer and investor interest to elevate their games and ambitions. Yet questions remain for all three segments.

Expedia, Booking.com and Airbnb differ on marketing tactics as recovery begins
May 19, 2021 via Phocus Wire
Three giant online travel brands are trying to capture some of the so-called pent-up travel demand as lockdowns ease in some markets around the world. Two of the trio – Expedia Group and Booking Holdings – trust age-old performance marketing tactics that have served them well for over a decade, though the former takes a slightly different approach.

Pandemic highlights value of travel agents
May 14, 2021 via Yahoo Finance – Top Stories
Planning a trip abroad these days requires more than the usual hunt for cheap flights and a good hotel. Travelers need to know when they can reasonably leave, which countries are willing to accept them, what will be open, what entry requirements their destination may require and, if they care about these things, which hotels have policies in place. additional protocols for eliminating germs.

New chat-based corporate travel service launched in Japan
May 21, 2021 via Phocus Wire
Japan-based global online travel company Venture Republic launches new business travel booking and management chat service in collaboration with LINE Works, the business chat service division of the communications company Japanese.


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