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Spain’s Competition Regulator to Investigate Booking.com

Booking.com

Spain’s competition watchdog on Monday announced that it has launched an investigation into Dutch hotel reservation website Booking.com.

Spain’s National Commission on Markets and Competition, known as CNMC, said the online travel giant’s conduct may constitute abuse of its dominant market position. 

The conduct under investigation covers several practices that may constitute an abuse of a dominant position in the provision of intermediation services to hotels by online travel agencies (OTAs). In particular, these practices may involve (i) imposing unfair trading conditions on hotels located in Spain, and (ii) commercial policies that may have exclusionary effects on other OTAs, as well as other online sales channels.

On the other hand, the conduct under investigation also covers practices that may entail the exploitation of a situation of economic dependence of hotels located in Spain. This, in turn, may amount to unfair competition acts affecting public interest due to the distortion of free competition they have produced.

The investigation stems from two complaints filed before the CNMC by the Spanish Association of Hotel Managers (Asociación Española de Directores de
Hotel) and the Regional Hotel Association of Madrid (Asociación Empresarial Hotelera de Madrid).

The CNMC has now a maximum period of 18 months for conducting its investigation and reaching a final decision.

According to Statista, Booking.com had a 71% share of Europe’s online travel agency market in 2021.

 

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