Are we seeing the floodgates beginning to open with the hotel price parity issue? Perhaps so, with news of another attempt at a class action in the US against online travel agencies and hotel chains.
The latest to emerge has materialised in the state of Texas where an individual, James Smith on San Antonio, who has cited the same names in the industry as last week's class action in California:
In the court documents filed at Dallas Federal Court
- Trump International Hotels
- Kimpton Hotel & Restaurant Group
- InterContinental Hotels Group
- Hilton Worldwide
- Starwood Hotels & Resorts
, Smith highlights a recent experience when he tried to book a room in Las Vegas via Expedia.
Smith says he was unable to get the best deal because the hotel (Treasure Island Hotel and Casino) because of an alleged secret agreement between it and Expedia so that customer do not pay less than a "guaranteed minimum mark-up".
He adds that he was forced to pay "artificially inflated prices due to the conspiracy and has been damaged by the conduct" of the defendants.
The documents filed in Texas are almost identical in terms of structure and wording of the complaint, hinting at a wider and coordinated grass-roots campaign emerging.
The California and Texas class actions come just just three weeks after a UK regulator issued a "statement of objections" to Expedia, Booking.com and InterContinental, alleging the two OTAs entered in to individual agreements with the hotel giant which "restricted the online travel agency’s ability to discount the price of room-only accommodation".
The defendants in the case(s) are currently keeping quiet, with no commentary emerging from any of the companies cited in the two class actions.
NB:Hotel bell money image via Shutterstock.