November 21, 2017
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The lawsuit alleges that EyeForTravel “facilitated the conspiracy and agreements at issue” from 2004 to 2012 by conducting “private, industry-only conferences” in which presentations and discussions covered various hotel pricing strategies, and the need to enforce rate parity in all distribution outlets.
The amended complaint, filed May 1 in federal court in Dallas, also adds Wyndham Hotel Group, Carlson Hotel Group, Best Western, Choice Hotels, and Hyatt Hotels to its roster of hotel (Starwood, Marriott, Trump, Hilton and Kimpton), and online travel agency (Travelocity, Expedia, Hotels.com, Priceline.com, Booking.com, and Orbitz) defendants.
The amended complaint consolidates several similar lawsuits, which date to August 2012. They allege that OTAs and hotels conspire to fix prices in “rate parity” agreements, and that these practices violate federal and state antitrust laws. The impact is consumers get ripped off because they would otherwise be able to find cheaper room rates.
Under these agreements, hotels can’t offer lower rates on their own websites than they provide to online travel agencies, and hotels can’t rooms at cheaper rates through one online travel agency or another.
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