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Trivago a no-go for cheapest hotel

  • January 21 2020
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Trivago a no-go for cheapest hotel

By Grace Ormsby
January 21 2020

Heavily advertised hotel comparison site Trivago has come under fire from the consumer watchdog after it was found to be misleading consumers about providing them with the cheapest hotel room rates.

Trivago

Trivago a no-go for cheapest hotel

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  • January 21 2020
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Heavily advertised hotel comparison site Trivago has come under fire from the consumer watchdog after it was found to be misleading consumers about providing them with the cheapest hotel room rates.

Trivago

A statement has outlined the Federal Court’s finding that the comparison site had breached Australian Consumer Law when it misled consumers from December 2016 by “representing its website would quickly and easily help users identify the cheapest rates available for a given hotel”.

Instead, Trivago was using an algorithm that placed significant weight on which online hotel booking site paid Trivago the highest cost-per-click fee to determine website rankings – often not highlighting the cheapest rates for consumers.

ACCC chair Rod Sims said that Trivago’s hotel room rate rankings “were based primarily on which online hotel booking sites were willing to pay Trivago the most”.

“By prominently displaying a hotel offer in ‘top position’ on its website, Trivago represented that the offer was either the cheapest available offer or had some other extra feature that made it the best offer when this was often not the case,” Mr Sims explained.

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Trivago was also found to be using strike-through prices or text in different colours that gave consumers “a false impression of savings”.

Such offers were usually comparing standard rooms with luxury rooms at the same hotel.

Mr Sims said the consumer watchdog brought the case before the court because it considered that “Trivago’s conduct was particularly egregious”.

“Many consumers may have been tricked by the price displays into thinking they were getting great discounts.”

“In fact, Trivago wasn’t comparing apples with apples when it came to room type for these room rate comparisons,” he continued.

Until 2 July 2018, Trivago was also found to have been misleading customers to believe that the website “provided an impartial, objective and transparent price comparison for hotel room rates”. 

 

Trivago a no-go for cheapest hotel
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About the author

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Grace is a journalist on Momentum Media's nestegg. She enjoys being able to provide easy to digest information and practical tips for Australians with regard to their wealth, as well as having a platform on which to engage leading experts and commentators and leverage their insight.

About the author

Grace is a journalist on Momentum Media's nestegg. She enjoys being able to provide easy to digest information and practical tips for Australians with regard to their wealth, as well as having a platform on which to engage leading experts and commentators and leverage their insight.

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