Online Travel News: Expedia Chairman Expects Leisure and Business Travel to Return Again; Nevada Court ruled that lawsuit against online travel agencies could continue; Booking.com loses German lawsuit | Foster Garvey, PC

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Nevada court resolved online travel agency (OTA) lawsuit
(Judge: Nevada v. Online Travel Companies Case Continues, May 18, 2021, via Vegas Inc – All Stories Headlines (Las Vegas, NV))
Last week, a Nevada state court ruled that the lawsuit filed on behalf of the state of Nevada against several of the largest online travel agencies (OTAs) could continue. The lawsuit, like many other claims filed against OTA over the past few years, alleges that OTA has underpaid taxes due on reservations. The industry will keep a close eye on these cases as their outcome will have a long-term effect.

Reservation.com loses its “narrow” parity protection
(“Booking.com loses German antitrust case over narrow hotel reservations”, May 18, 2021 via MLEX Insight; “Germany: hoteliers beat Booking.com, “May 18, 2021 via Le Figaro (translated))
In a ruling last week, the German Federal Court (Germany’s highest court) banned online travel agencies (OTAs) from using all so-called “narrow” (or direct) parity provisions. In other words, German hoteliers can now offer rates lower than those offered through the OTA on their websites, and also offer different rates among their OTA partners. This decision is the culmination of a process that began back in 2013, when the German competition authority determined that PTA’s use of both indirect and direct booking channels was anti-competitive. Even after Booking.com introduced narrow parity in 2015 (as it has successfully done in many other countries to avoid anti-competitive scrutiny), the German authorities continued their efforts to ban parity requirements. In a statement in response to a recent Supreme Court ruling, Booking.com expressed concern that the ruling could result in consumers paying more for their stay. It remains to be seen whether this will actually happen and whether this decision will affect other European Union member states and their heterogeneous approaches to rate parity. In the meantime, German hoteliers have something to celebrate.


Other news:

Four Key Takeaways from Skift Short-Term Rentals and the Outdoor Summit
May 20, 2021 via Skift Travel News (subscription may be required)
Short-term rentals, vacation homes and outdoor adventures were the most resilient parts of the travel industry during the pandemic. Brands have used the recent wave of consumer and investor interest to boost their games and ambitions. However, questions remain in all three segments.

Expedia, Booking.com, and Airbnb Diverge on Marketing Tactics When Recovery Begins
May 19, 2021 via Phocus Wire
Three giant online travel brands are trying to meet some of the so-called deferred travel demand as restrictions on some markets around the world are eased. Two of the trio – Expedia Group and Booking Holdings – believe in old performance marketing tactics that have served them well for over a decade, although the former takes a slightly different approach.

Pandemic underscores the value of travel agencies
May 14, 2021 via Yahoo Finance – Breaking News
Planning a trip abroad these days requires more than the usual hunt for cheap flights and a pleasant hotel. Travelers need to know when they can reasonably travel, which countries are willing to accept them, what will be open, what entry requirements may be required at their destination and, if they are concerned about such things, which hotels have additional germ-protection protocols in place.

Japan launches new chat-based corporate travel service
May 21, 2021 via Phocus Wire
Japanese global travel company Venture Republic is launching a new chat-based corporate booking and travel management service in partnership with LINE Works, the business chat arm of a Japanese communications company.

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