Thank you for taking the time last week to try and explain the proposal you have put forward on behalf of Expedia, Booking.com and IHG.
I still don’t understand it I’m afraid. I don’t understand how you expect it to work practically and I don’t understand how it can possibly be seen as a measure to stop Expedia and Booking.com further stifling the hotel industry.
I came to you saying that Expedia and Booking.com are preventing my company, Skoosh, from offering discounted hotel rooms by intimidating my suppliers. I told you that they’re also preventing hotels from offering deals directly to guests. I told you that they’re deceiving the public into believing that they have the best prices themselves. And I told you that they’re buying price comparison sites so they can spy on their competitors and force them to raise their prices.
That your proposal doesn’t solve my concerns is not an issue. The problem now is that you’ve left people in a state of confusion. As a public body, paid for by the tax payer, you’re duty bound to put out clear messages both to industry and the consumer. You’ve done neither. I’ve got travel agents, hoteliers, journalists, economists and lawyers asking me to make sense of your proposal and I can’t of course because I have no idea what you’re trying to achieve.
I’ve also got lawyers urging me to take this to a judicial review or all the way to the European Court of Human Rights. I don’t intend to do either. As sceptical as I am about the arrangement you’ve come to with the defendants, and as much as I’d like to challenge the absurd lack of transparency in your organisation, for my part I just want to have the details out here on public record and leave anyone else to take it up as they see fit.