Online Travel Update: Upcoming Updates from Google | Foster Garvey PC

Our weekly online travel update for the week ending Sunday January 27 is below. This week’s update provides updates on recent DOT and FTC rulemaking efforts regarding “hidden” industry fees. Enjoy.

  • Google updates coming. In an effort to comply with increasing pressure from EU competition authorities, Google has agreed to make changes to the information displayed through several of its platforms and stores. Specifically, Google Flights and Google Hotels will soon differentiate Google-provided services from third-party services, clarify that Google Hotels does not verify or verify guest reviews, and comply with transparency guidelines applicable to other platforms for online reservations.
  • Objections Raised to DOT’s Proposed Surcharge Rules. While industry trade groups have largely voiced support for increased transparency on surcharges, both ASTA and the Passenger Technology Association have raised objections to the Department of Transportation’s proposed regulation on the same issue. Specifically, both groups raised objections to the exclusion of global distribution systems from the draft regulation. The Travel Technology Association also expressed concern about requiring ancillary fee information to appear on the first page of search results, which the Association said would make shopping extremely confusing for consumers, especially those using its members’ metasearch site.
  • Five thousand comments and counting: FTC’s notice of proposed rulemaking draws attention. As comments on the FTC’s notice of proposed rulemaking regarding surcharges (including hotel and resort fees) continue to come in, the FTC has chosen to extend the comment period until February 8. Anyone interested in reviewing the comments can find a searchable catalog here – https://www.regulations.gov/docket/FTC-2022-0069/comments.

Have a nice week everyone. Great to see so many people this past week in Seattle at HEDNA.

Google services to offer more accurate information in line with the EU
Jan 27, 2023 via Verge
Many of Google’s offerings will soon be updated to provide clear and accurate information in line with EU consumer protection laws. Announced by the European Commission on Thursday, the Alphabet-owned company agreed to introduce changes to the Google Store, Google Play Store, Google Hotels and Google Flights after…

Las Vegas hotels accused of collusion on rent prices in class action
January 26, 2023 via Reuters
(Reuters) – Several major companies that operate famous hotels on the famous shopping strip near Las Vegas were hit by a consumer antitrust lawsuit in federal court on Wednesday, accusing them of conspiring to keep hotel room rates artificially high. The lawsuit in Nevada federal court alleges that Caesars Entertainment Inc, …

Learn more about the class action complaint

Budgets and Options: Can ‘Save Now, Buy Later’ Be Necessary When Traveling?
Jan 25, 2023 via WIT
Buy now, pay later – a form of credit that allows a consumer to pay off a purchase over time in smaller installments – has entered the travel industry in recent years. From 2019 to 2021, the number of BNPL loans originating in the United States increased by five …

The fee transparency rule excludes GDS and ASTA is not happy about that
Jan 24, 2023 via Travel Weekly
ASTA and the Travel Technology Association submitted comments to the Department of Transportation on their regulatory proposal that would require airlines and third-party ticket sellers, including travel advisors, to disclose surcharges in advance. Both groups agree on the need for increased transparency for consumers when it comes to…

Legal alert

Unfair or Fraudulent Fees Trading Regulation Rule Update

The Commission agrees that providing additional time to submit comments in response to the ANPR would help facilitate the creation of a more complete record. Therefore, the Commission has decided to extend the comment period by 30 days, until February 8, 2023. A 30-day extension will provide commenters with sufficient time to address the issues raised in the ANPR.

Learn more about the Unfair or Fraudulent Fee Trading Regulation.

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