GVH online szállásportál ászf szerződési feltételek szigorítása

Hungarian watchdog GVH’s Verdict on Online Accommodation Platforms

by Kassay Tamás

After evaluating the received feedback, the Hungarian Competition Authority (GVH) has finalized its report on the expedited sector inquiry into the domestic online accommodation booking and hospitality market. The national competition authority has put forth several proposals to protect Hungarian consumers and domestic accommodation providers.

In alignment with the legislative proposal submitted to the Parliament regarding Booking.com and similar online accommodation platforms, GVH supports tightening the contractual terms of accommodation booking platforms. It seeks to prohibit unfair or price-competition hindering contractual practices and aims to make the ranking criteria on accommodation platforms more transparent. The latest discussion on the completed investigation and the authority’s proposals is featured in the latest episode of the GVH Podcast.

Initiated at the end of August, the expedited sector inquiry by the Hungarian Competition Authority focused on the online accommodation booking and hospitality service market in Hungary. The investigation was prompted by numerous market complaints from the major international accommodation intermediary, Booking.com, and its Hungarian accommodation partners. GVH’s inquiry extensively analyzed the relevant markets, contracts, general terms and conditions, and examined changes since the industry investigation concluded in 2016. Additionally, GVH addressed the issues raised by accommodation providers.

Hungarian watchdog GVH’s experts proposed three intervention points regarding the regulation of online accommodation portals:

  1. Advocating stricter regulation of the general terms and conditions (and related business practices) of major accommodation intermediaries, including mechanisms for complaint resolution open to accommodation providers and mutual legal consequences for faulty performances.
  2. Recommending the legislator to prohibit the application of so-called price parity clauses for online accommodation intermediaries.
  3. Encouraging accommodation intermediaries to make the ranking criteria of search results on their platforms more transparent.

Four comments were received on GVH’s draft report for the expedited sector inquiry into Booking.com.

Within the available 30 days, a total of four businesses operating online accommodation booking platforms and industry representatives provided feedback on the draft report published on October 20. GVH’s experts thoroughly examined the submitted comments and, in accordance with relevant legal requirements, finalized the report. A public summary was also prepared, in which GVH briefly responded to the raised concerns.

After a thorough assessment of the feedback, GVH continues to uphold its proposals, advocating for their legislative and practical implementation to protect consumers and domestic accommodation providers. Moreover, GVH remains vigilant over the domestic online accommodation booking and hospitality market and is ready to intervene if necessary to safeguard market competition and the interests of Hungarian consumers.

The final report of the expedited sector inquiry is available on the GVH website.

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