Google to List Total Prices
Google has added taxes and fees to its hotel searches as part of a series of new features, allowing consumers to see both ‘nightly price’ and ‘nightly total’.
The move came after Booking committed to showing total prices after talks with the European Commission, and the Advertising Standards Authority in the UK warned InterContinental Hotels Group over its pricing in advertisements.
At Google, the search engine also expanded on its predictive pricing offering, with suggestions on the best times to visit or typical hotel prices for specific dates.
In a blog post, Andrew Silverman, director, travel product management, Google, said: “On the ‘When to visit’ tab, you’ll see how weather, crowds and pricing vary across the year. Check out ‘What you’ll pay’ to find out if prices are low, typical or high for the dates you’re considering (grouped by hotels’ star ratings). If you find out prices are much higher than usual due to a conference or sporting event, you may decide to change your dates.”
In Europe, Booking has committed to making a number of changes to its practices by 16 June this year, after talks with the European Commission. These included displaying the total price that consumers would have to pay and clarifying how results are ranked and, whether payments made by the accommodation provider to Booking had influenced its position in the list of results.
Didier Reynders, commissioner for justice and consumers, said: “All companies must meet our high consumer law standards if they want to do business in the EU. As a market leader, it is vital that companies like Booking.com meet their responsibilities in this area, ensuring that online accommodation reservation systems are free from manipulative techniques such as hiding sponsoring in ranking, unduly putting time pressure on users or misrepresenting rebates.”
At IHG, the ASA received a compliant about a listing on its website for the Holiday Inn Express in Nine Elms, seen on 15 May, which included the text “Best Price Guarantee when you book with us” and “Best Price Guarantee. We promise you the lowest available price online, or we’ll match it and give you five times the IHG Rewards Club points, up to a 40,000-point maximum”.