This week’s OTA & Travel Distribution Update features a variety of stories, including renewed federal efforts to legislate third-party booking engines’ disclosure requirements. Enjoy.
Reservation Re-Sales in the News Again
("The Rise of Reservation Re-Sale (and Why Airbnb Is Involved)," Hotel Online, May 30, 2018)
With the recent changes in major hoteliers’ cancellation policies (most now requiring 48 hours advance notice), reservation re-sellers – like Roomer and Cancelon - are again making headlines. While the services these sites offer can present a challenge for hoteliers seeking to manage their rates and inventory, their relative obscurity has limited their effect. Now enter Airbnb...
This week’s OTA & Travel Distribution Update for the week ending May 25 is below. This week’s Update features a variety of stories, including one of our first (of many more likely to come) on the changing world of airline distribution. Enjoy.
Keyword Restrictions – Part V: Why All the Griping?
("Keyword Restrictions - Part V: Restrictions on Using Trademarks as Keyword Search Terms: Why All The Griping?," GSB Client Alert, May 25, 2018)
Today’s Update features the fifth installment of our six-part series critiquing recent articles (and litigation) challenging hoteliers’ keyword practices. Having identified in last week’s installment the many pro-competitive / pro-consumer effects of allowing hoteliers to limit OTAs’ use of hoteliers’ trademarks, Don now questions the reasons behind the many “gripes” (his word, not mine) about these practices.
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 email@example.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.
Our weekly client OTA & Travel Distribution Update for the week ending April 20, 2018 is below. This week’s Update features a number of stories on the emerging tours and activities space. I also included the first installment of our own detailed look at recent complaints (and now litigation) raised against hoteliers regarding their keyword contracting practices. A huge thanks to my colleague, Don Scaramastra, for digging into this much-publicized anti-trust issue.
Keyword Restrictions: What Exactly Is the Problem?
("Keyword Restrictions Part I: Restrictions on Keyword Advertising by OTAs: What Exactly Is the Problem?", GSB Client Update, April 20, 2018)
In the first installment of our six-part series critiquing recent articles (and litigation) questioning hoteliers’ keyword practices, my colleague, Don Scaramastra, attempts to define the “problem.” We hope you enjoy.
Australian Authorities Confirm Renewed Interest in Parity Provisions
("Online Booking Clauses Still Cause for Concern for Australian Competition Authority," MLex, April 11, 2018) (subscription required)
Speaking at the ABA’s Antitrust Law 2018 Spring Meeting in Washington D.C. last week, commissioner Roger Featherstone of Australia’s Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) confirmed that the regulator is re-examining the previously adopted “narrow” approach to parity in Australia. Featherstone’s comments come only weeks after we first reported that the ACCC was re-considering its previously announced position.
This week’s OTA & Travel Distribution Update for the week ending April 6, 2018 is below. A variety of stories are featured in this week’s Update, including an interesting follow up story on Red Lion’s somewhat unique (and hard to understand) approach to loyalty. I hope you enjoy.
Price-Fixing Fines Imposed Against FlightCentre
("Flight Centre’s $9 million fine renews Australian tensions over court-set antitrust penalties," MLex, April 4, 2018) (subscription required)
Some time ago we featured a series of stories about the somewhat unprecedented approach by the Australian Competition & Consumer Commission (ACCC) to rate parity commitments found in contracts between several international airlines and their distributor, FlightCentre. You might recall that the commitments were found by the ACCC to violate Australian anti-trust laws because the parties were determined to be “competitors” and not principals / agents as argued by the airlines and FlightCentre. This past week, the Australian Federal Court finally concluded the matter by imposing fines of $9.25 million against FlightCentre.
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.