Hotel discount deals investigated

Holiday InnThe operator of Holiday Inn and Crowne Plaza hotels and two of the UK's biggest online travel agents were under investigation today for signing a potentially unlawful deal to limit discounts on rooms.

Booking.com and Expedia entered into separate agreements with Intercontinental Hotels Group (IHG) which are provisionally believed to have infringed competition law, the Office of Fair Trading (OFT) said.
The arrangement between Booking.com and IHG is still in place, while Expedia allegedly violated rules between October 2007 and September 2010, the OFT added.
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The investigation focused on IHG, Booking.com and Expedia but the competition regulator warned the alleged practices are potentially widespread in the industry.

The OFT said all parties will now have a full opportunity to respond to its findings before the watchdog decides whether competition law has in fact been infringed.

IHG said its arrangements with online booking agents were "compliant with competition laws and consistent with the long-standing approach of the global hotel industry".

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