Online hotel deal schemes analysed


Views on just what good-value hotel deals online bookers are getting are being sought by fair trading chiefs.

The Office of Fair Trading (OFT) is already investigating the dealings two online travel agents (OTAs) - Expedia and - have with the InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG).
The OFT alleges that the two OTAs "each entered into separate agreements with IHG which restricted each OTA's ability to discount the rate at which room-only hotel accommodation bookings are offered to consumers".

Expedia, and IHG have now proposed commitments to address the OFT's concerns and today the OFT said it was asking interested parties to give their views on the commitments.
Ann Pope, senior director in the OFT's services, infrastructure and public markets group, said: "The OFT is consulting on whether these commitments offer an immediate and effective means of injecting some meaningful price competition into the online offering of room-only hotel accommodation bookings where, in our provisional view, none may exist.

"Under the proposed commitments, OTAs would be able to offer discounts off hotel room bookings to qualifying consumers. The OFT would now like to hear the views of all interested parties before it makes its decision on whether to accept the commitments.'"

The OFT said it had limited the scope of its investigation to a small number of major companies, with a view to achieving a swift and effective outcome.

The OFT added: "However, the investigation is likely to have wider implications as the alleged practices are potentially widespread in distribution arrangements in the industry."

IHG said: "IHG notes this morning's announcement from the OFT regarding its investigation into the online supply of room-only hotel accommodation by online travel agents.

"The OFT has today commenced a public consultation on a series of commitments designed to bring an end to this investigation without finding of infringement or the imposition of any fine.

"IHG has worked closely with the OFT to agree these commitments, which are now subject to a consultation period ending September 13 2013."

© 2013 Press Association
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Online hotel deal schemes analysed

If you are a victim of a strike, or any other event beyond the airline's control (including ash clouds!), they must offer you a refund (in which case it's up to you to find a way home) or an alternative flight. While you are waiting for the flight you have the right to food and refreshment and accommodation.

If you are on a package holiday, your tour operator is entirely responsible for looking after you until you get back to the UK.

This is more likely to happen due to the financial crisis, but in some situations you are covered. 

If you pay by credit card and it's over £100, you'll get a refund from the card company. 

Your travel insurance may well cover you too, but check before you go.  

Talk to the airline, and if it is temporarily misplaced they should arrange for it to be sent to your accommodation, and you should be either given cash to cover the essentials in the interim.

If it's completely lost you must wait 21 days and then make a claim for compensation. If you are travelling as part of a package you can claim costs from your operator.

If you are travelling within the EU you need an EHIC card, which gives you access to public healthcare. However, this won't necessarily be free, and if you need extra services such as accommodation for a carer, a helicopter home or a delayed flight, you could end up seriously out of pocket.

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The most common form of theft is pick-pocketing, followed by theft from a car and bag snatching. Meanwhile, 752,000 of those surveyed had items stolen from their hotel room or villa.

If you have anything stolen, your only protection is insurance. You need to tell the local police immediately and get a crime reference for your travel insurer.

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