A European Commission external market study that includes Cyprus indicates no significant change in the competitive situation in the bloc’s hotel accommodation distribution sector between 2017 and 2021 compared to 2016.
In particular, the recently-released market study was conducted in 2021 and focused on a representative sample of six Member States – Cyprus, Austria, Belgium, Poland, Spain and Sweden.
The study aimed to obtain up-to-date facts on hotels’ distribution practices, following up on a similar monitoring exercise carried out by the European Competition Network in 2016.
Also, to establish whether hotels’ distribution practices differ between Member States, identify any changes in hotels’ distribution practices, as compared to the results of the ECN monitoring exercise of 2016.
The results of the market study do not indicate any significant change in the competitive situation in the hotel accommodation distribution sector in the EU compared to 2016. In particular:
- Online travel agencies (‘OTAs’) account for 44% of independent hotels’ room sales, a slight increase relative to 2016.
- Booking.com and Expedia remain the leading OTAs for hotel bookings and there is no sign of significant changes in OTA market shares or of new OTA entry.
- The commission rates paid by hotels to OTAs appear to have remained stable or slightly decreased.
- The level of room price and room availability differentiation applied by hotels both between different OTAs and between the hotels’ own websites and OTAs appears to have decreased.
- It appears that some OTAs use commercial measures, such as improved/reduced visibility on the OTA website, to incentivise hotels to give them the best room prices and conditions.
- The relative importance of hotel sales channels (online/offline, direct/indirect) differs to some extent between Member States, but there appear to be no significant differences in the conditions of OTA competition.
- Laws in Austria and Belgium banning the use of wide and narrow OTA parity clauses in the hotel sector do not appear to have led to material changes in hotel distribution practices, relative to the other Member States covered by the study.