Switzerland vs Booking.com
After a few years of political and commercial dispute, finally, Switzerland vs Booking.com came to an end.
On their websites, hotels in Switzerland should be able to offer rooms at a lower price than on online booking platforms such as Booking.com.
Swiss Parliament bans so-called parity clauses. It will also allow hotels, among other things, to offer their rooms at a lower rate on their website compared to the booking platforms.
By a vote of 38 to 7, the Council of States approved the corresponding amendment to the unfair competition law for the final vote on Wednesday. A vital goal of the draft is to strengthen future regulation for online booking platforms.
A step further than the Federal Council suggested
Parliament went beyond what the Federal Council suggested. In line with the National Council, the Council of States banned not only price parity clauses but also offer and condition parity clauses in contracts between online booking platforms and accommodation providers.
As a result, the Council of States followed the majority of both the Legal Commission (RK-S) and the National Council by a vote of 36 to 9.
The long-standing struggle for “Lex Booking”
This proposal stems from a suggestion by Pirmin Bischof, referred to the Federal Council by the Parliament in 2016. Despite the government’s reluctance to interfere with the practices of booking platforms, the demand had to be met.
While this is happening, Booking.com continues to dominate the market. Moreover, this and other online booking platforms are under increasing pressure from politicians to tighten their controls. Thus, the template is recognizable as “Lex Booking”.
In the past, Booking.com has rejected the accusation that hotels must sign a “lock-up contract”. However, boss Glenn Fogel doesn’t think much of the stricter regulation. He told the “Neue Zürcher Zeitung” in an interview on Tuesday that Booking.com has been operating in Switzerland for over twenty years and has never increased commission.
As the digitalization process has taken its course in Switzerland, the Swiss hoteliers are relieved by this decision. In the opinion of Hotellerie Suisse, those investments made by the hotels, to bring direct bookings to their modernized websites, will finally pay off.
According to the association, it is a win-win situation for hotels and guests. There is always a benefit for customers when there is competition. In addition, hoteliers must have up-to-date rates. This allows them to make better offers than booking platforms, says Andreas Züllig, President of HotellerieSuisse, in his statement.
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