Booking.com Warns Automotive Partners Against Use Of Over-the-Top Promotional Jargon


Skift take

Booking.com does not want affiliates or other partners to make unsubstantiated promotional claims about the online travel agency having the “best”, meaning the lowest prices, which it does. she admits not having. With regulators in Europe and elsewhere monitoring its every move, Booking.com doesn’t want to play like this.

Dennis schaal

Booking.com is warning its transport partners against using phrases the company prohibits in promotions to avoid regulatory penalties.

For example, Booking.com tells transport partners such as car rental companies not to use phrases like “Best price – guaranteed!” »In the section of his December 2021 Partnerships Handbook Of ‘what not to say,’ the Amsterdam-based online travel agency, a unit of Booking Holdings, said, ‘We cannot guarantee that our prices are the best. We offer a best price guarantee that if a customer finds a similar car cheaper on another website, we will match the price. However, our default prices are unlikely to be the lowest in the market, therefore we cannot use the * d * guarantee. “

Of course, Booking is not alone. Other online travel agencies also have rules regarding promotional language.

In another example of what not to do, Booking.com advises partners to avoid “overly exaggerated savings claims” with artificially high barred prices. “Statements like these are misleading and can lead to inquiries by regulators and, if not substantiated, are automatically viewed as unfair,” the playbook said.

Regarding prices, Booking.com advises partners not to use the word “best”. “We generally avoid the word ‘best’ when associated with price because ‘best’ is often seen as the cheapest, which we are not,” the guide said.

Booking.com has published such notices to its partners in the past, but it is unclear exactly how market orders have changed in response to increased regulatory oversight, particularly in the UK and UK. Europe, for all online travel agencies in recent years.

Following competition investigations, in 2019 and 2020, Booking.com made certain commitments to regulatory authorities in the United Kingdom and the European Union regarding the way it displays hotel prices and how ” discounts and statements regarding popularity or availability are presented to consumers ”. according to a financial deposit in February.

Expedia Group is committed to making similar changes in the UK and EU to the way it presents’ search results rankings and algorithms, rebate requests, fee disclosure, availability and similar posts ”, according to his own financial statement in February.

In a foreword to its December 2021 Partnership Playbook, Booking.com wrote: “Under the new regulations, it’s really important that you promote our products fairly and accurately so that we can avoid financial penalties and continue to grow together, so we created this document. to make it as easy as possible for you to avoid unnecessary compliance risk.

The backdrop to the increased regulatory scrutiny is that the European Union is considering naming Booking.com as a dominant ‘gatekeeper’ as it considers new rules in digital markets.

Speaking during a financial conference Booking Holdings CEO Glenn Fogel said on Monday that while he would be disappointed if the company was made a custodian, the new regulatory framework could end up benefiting the company.

“Then the next thing is how it’s going to be, in fact it could impact other people in the industry, a lot more than us, which could actually be a benefit for us,” he said. declared Fogel. “We’ll see how it plays out. And we’ll just have to wait for things like Google. What does this mean to them and how can people use Google or not? Who knows? We will find out.

Skift took notice of Booking.com’s advice to transport partners when the Twitter user @travelfish posted: “So Booking suddenly decided they need to tell affiliates (and apparently ex-affiliates like me) to be honest with consumers – not because it’s the right thing to do well sure, but because the EU has adopted some pesky rules. “

https://twitter.com/travelfish/status/1467833487298154497?s=21

Years ago, online travel agencies were given greater freedom to use language that could be seen as a pressure selling tactic like “Last Chance!” There is only one left.

In the meantime, European regulators in particular have cracked down.



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