Expedia loses hotel rate parity case in France

Expedia has been fined €1 million by a French court and ordered to cease demanding “tariff parity” from hotels following an appeal brought by the government in Paris.

The judgment by the Court of Appeal of Paris on June 21 found the parity clauses applied by online travel agent Expedia in contracts with hoteliers to be illegal.

Both Expedia and sister OTA were ordered to cease demanding hotel rate-parity guarantees.

The appeal was brought by the French economic ministry following a commercial court ruling in 2015 on a government lawsuit alleging “undue hindrance to the commercial freedom of hotels” by the US company dating back to 2013.

Roland Heguy, chairman of the French hotel and restaurant industry union UMIH hailed the ruling as “a very good victory for 17,000 French hoteliers”.

He said the court “clearly recognised that the practices of the platform are illegal”.

However, Expedia said it would appeal, suggesting the court of appeal had “not correctly interpreted the law”.

The company said it had made changes to its contracts with hoteliers in France in light of the 2015 decision, which it had welcomed as ruling that “so-called parity clauses of Expedia did not harm hotels”.

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