Travel TechnologyBooking.com accused of misleading claims on room availability

When ‘one room left’ isn’t all it seems

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‘One room left on our site’ claims don’t always ring true, says Which? Travel.
‘One room left on our site’ claims don’t always ring true, says Which? Travel.

LONDON - Booking.com is still giving a false impression of hotel availability to rush consumers into making a booking, Which? Travel in the UK has claimed.

Consumer advocate Which? Travel’s snapshot research found that ‘only one  room left on our site’ prompts didn’t ring true when clicking through to the booking page.

In one case, the site was offering another 34 rooms at the same London hotel – 10 of which were almost identical and cheaper in price than the ‘last room’ listed.

This despite the September 1 deadline having passed for sites to make changes following enforcement action from the UK’s Competition and Marketing Authority (CMA).

Following pressure from Which? Travel, OTAs Expedia, Booking.com, Agoda, Hotels.com, ebookers and Trivago were investigated over concerns around pressure selling, misleading discount claims, the effect of commissions on search results and hidden charges.

Which? said the CMA concluded that practices such as giving a false impression of a room’s popularity, or not displaying the full cost up front, could potentially break UK consumer protection law.

The six sites in question were given until September 1, 2019 to make changes, but Which? Travel’s  research showed that while Booking.com had made changes to its site it hadn’t gone far enough.

Expedia, Agoda, Hotels.com, ebookers and Trivago complied with the CMA’s demands, Which? said.


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