Booking.com faces investigation by Spain’s competition watchdog

Booking.com faces investigation by Spain's competition watchdog. Credit: Pyotr Swat/Shutterstock.com

ONLINE travel agency Booking.com is being investigated by Spain’s competition watchdog after claims of potential anti-competitive behavior.

Following complaints lodged by the Spanish Association of Hotel Managers and the Regional Hotel Association of Madrid, the holiday giant faces a probe relating to antitrust activity.

Competition regulator Comisión Nacional de Los Mercados y La Competencia (CNMC) has released a statement confirming that the Dutch company is subject to an investigation that may entail unfair trading conditions to hotels located in Spain.

The CNMC press release says that the investigation also covers practices that may exploit a situation of economic dependence for these hotels, which “may amount to unfair competition acts affecting public interest due to the distortion of free competition”.

The watchdog concluded: “After reviewing the complaints received and information gathered under the preliminary investigation, the Competition Directorate of the CNMC considers that there are grounds to support the possibility that Booking.com B.V. may have breached articles 2 and 3 of the SCA [Spanish Competition Act] and article 102 of the TFEU [Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union].”

The CNMC has up to 18 months to conduct its investigation and decide on an outcome, with the opening of formal proceedings not prejudging the final result.

Booking.com told TechCrunch that it is working with the CNMC to answer any questions they have about the company’s dealings.

“Booking.com has always and will continue to work collaboratively with our accommodation partners in the travel ecosystem, which has only recently seen signs of recovery as we enter a further uncertain future with the global economic environment,” the statement said.

“We continue to work tirelessly to secure and deliver much-needed demand for our accommodation partners, helping them fill their rooms every day.”


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Vickie S
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Vickie Scullard

A journalist of more than 12 years from Manchester, UK, Vickie now lives in Madrid and works as a news writer for the Euro Weekly News.

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