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Posts from May 2018.

This week’s OTA & Travel Distribution Update for the week ending May 18, 2018, is below.  This week’s Update features our fourth installment in our 6-part series on alleged anti-trust abuses by hoteliers arising from their keyword practices and a variety of other stories covering nearly all of our usual areas of focus.  I hope you enjoy.

Keyword Restrictions – Part IV: The Consumer Benefits of Keyword Restrictions
("Keyword Restrictions - Part IV: The Benefits of Restrictions on Use of Hotel Trademarks, GSB Client Alert, May 18, 2018)
In the fourth installment of our six-part series critiquing recent articles (and litigation) questioning hoteliers’ keyword practices, Don examines the effect of hoteliers’ keyword practices on inter-brand competition – a key factor in evaluating the plaintiffs’ class action claims.  According to Don, allowing OTAs free reign to use (abuse) hoteliers’ trademarks undermines hoteliers’ goals of product differentiation and cost containment – both of which are of critical importance to consumers.      

Our weekly client OTA & Travel Distribution Update for the week ending May 11, 2018 is below.  This week’s Update features a variety of stories, including the third installment in our six-part series dissecting recent anti-trust allegations against hoteliers arising out of their keyword activities. I hope you enjoy. 

Keyword Restrictions – Part III:  Vertical vs. Horizontal Restraints on Trade
("Keyword Restrictions - Part III: Vertical vs. Horizontal," GSB Client Update, May 11, 2018)
In the third installment of our six-part series critiquing recent articles (and litigation) questioning hoteliers’ keyword practices, my colleague, Don Scaramastra, next examines the critical difference between alleged agreements among hotel companies regarding their use of keywords (horizontal) versus agreements between hotel companies and their various downstream distribution channels (vertical).  

My OTA & Travel Distribution Update for the week ending Friday, May 4, 2018 is below.  Not a lot of news this week, hence the abbreviated Update.

AHLA: $5.2 Billion Spent in Fraudulent and Misleading Hotel Bookings
Hotel Business - News, May 3, 2018
New research from the American Hotel & Lodging Association (AHLA) suggests that online booking scams and fraudulent and misleading travel websites and companies continue to mislead and confuse consumers.

This week’s OTA & Travel Distribution Update for the week ending April 27, 2018 is below.  This week’s Update features a wide variety of stories.  I hope you enjoy.

Keyword Restrictions – Part II:  1-800 Contacts Case
("Keyword Restrictions - Part II: Complaints Based on the 1-800 Contacts Case: Visionary or Near Sighted," GSB Newsroom, April 27, 2018)
In the second installment of our six-part series critiquing recent articles (and litigation) questioning hoteliers’ keyword practices, Don Scaramastra next takes a close look at the FTC’s administrative proceeding against online contact retailer, 1-800 Contacts, and whether the proceeding – as frequently asserted – prohibits hoteliers from seeking to restrict distributors’ use of hoteliers’ keywords.  Putting aside the much publicized anti-trust litigation against hoteliers, we’ve seen increasing use of the 1-800 Contacts case by wholesalers and distributors as authority for refusing requested keyword protections and/or ceasing trademark abuses. 

Brittany L. Fayette is a new author on Duff on Hospitality Law blog. She is a member of GSB's Hospitality, Travel and Tourism Practice Group. She can be reached at bfayette@gsblaw.com or at 206.816.1305.

It’s estimated that room poaching results in upwards of $1.3 billion in lost revenue for hotels and lost funds for consumers every year. As hotels and consumers look for a way to fight against these losses, trademark infringement may be emerging as the most effective tool.

Room poaching occurs when companies position themselves as an event’s housing bureau in order to entice attendees to unwittingly book rooms outside of the official room block. Fake or out-of-block reservations can result in lost reservation fees for hotels, surprise charges and inconvenient and expensive last minute re-booking at alternative hotels for consumers. Further, trademark infringement can erode brand equity and good will between partnering hotels and groups.

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Greg Duff, Editor
Greg Duff founded and chairs GSB’s national Hospitality, Travel & Tourism group. His practice largely focuses on operations-oriented matters faced by hospitality industry members, including sales and marketing, distribution and e-commerce, procurement and technology. Greg also serves as counsel and legal advisor to many of the hospitality industry’s associations and trade groups, including AH&LA, HFTP and HSMAI.

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