Online bookings - restrictions on tourism and accommodation providers setting prices
The Competition and Consumer Law Committee of the Business Law Section of the Law Council of Australia (the Committee) welcomes the opportunity to comment on Treasury’s consultation paper on ‘Online bookings—restrictions on tourism and accommodation providers setting prices’.
The Committee makes the following key points.
- Price-parity clauses are not unique or specific to the tourism and accommodation sector and are likely to be used in many other sectors, including by other online platforms. Before adopting any additional regulation, Treasury should consider whether sector specific regulation is appropriate and warranted, having regard to the extent of any consumer and competitive harm in the tourism and accommodation sector, and whether existing regulation is inadequate to constrain such harm.
- For the reasons discussed below, online booking platform price-parity clauses can, depending on the circumstances, promote or harm consumer welfare, which suggests that further detailed consideration is warranted before proposing any regulation on their use, whether on a sector- or economy-wide basis.