As first reported in October, the UK’s Competition and Markets Authority watchdog has said that hotel booking sites such as Expedia and Booking.com must review the way they rank and display rooms, since some sites may be misleading consumers about live room availability and “rushing” them into booking decisions.

The companies have to respond within months, and either agree to legally-binding changes or prove they are not breaking any laws; the CMA can take them to court where they could face unlimited fines, and concerns about price guarantee claims have also been raised with the Advertising Standards Authority.

Concerns raised include whether search rankings are driven by commission rather than real searches; how many people are really looking at the same property; claims about discounts, including whether rates compared are actually for different times of the week; and whether there are hidden fees added later in the booking process.

UK Hospitality has welcomed the announcement.

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