Technology

Trivago claims “best” isn’t always cheapest in ACCC court case

Ali Coulton

Ali Coulton

Trivago has hit back at Australia’s consumer watchdog, claiming the “best” deal isn’t always the cheapest.

The court case between the OTA and the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) kicked off on Monday, with the ACCC accusing Trivago of placing deals from companies that offer larger advertising revenue higher than cheaper deals.

On Tuesday Trivago revealed in court how it ranks offers, alleging its algorithm prioritised the best deals for customers based on factors beyond price, such as ease of booking and lack of cancellation fees, according to the Sydney Morning Herald.

On Monday the ACCC produced memos in court that showed Trivago invited advertisers to pay more to “block” rival offers.

Trivago named advertiser payments as the “fourth or fifth” most important factor, with cost-per-click payments acting as a “tie-breaker” on similarly priced offers.

Representing the OTA, Neil Young, QC, presented evidence from two independently commissioned algorithm experts who found it ordered deals by a score based on multiple “dependent and independent factors”.

“The allegation is Trivago selected the top position primarily by cost-per-click … both experts agree that is not the case,” Young said, according to the SMH.

“Trivago selected the top position primarily by reference to the value of the offer price.”

The ACCC’s representation, Norman O’Bryan, maintained the OTA’s algorithm was “the subject of continual intense [internal] scrutiny”, and criticised it for failing to call upon its own algorithm developers to give evidence.

Young also hit back at the ACCC’s allegations around the websites “strike-through” prices that compare different room types, acknowledging that Trivagos strike-through deals were misleading but reiterating the website has since removed the strike-through in favour of red text and a disclaimer.

Trivago told Travel Weekly that while the company acknowledges the ACCC’s position, it believes aspects of its arguments are unfounded.

“We vigorously dispute the allegations relating to the information we prioritise when displaying offers on our website. We will be calling expert testimony to support our case,” the company said in a statement.

“We’re constantly improving the services available through our website with the interests of Australian consumers in mind, and our advertising aims to reflect the significant benefits we provide. This includes changes we made to our Australian website and advertising over the past several years to address the ACCC’s concerns.”

Trivago has already admitted to some of the watchdog’s claims, which carry a fine of up to $1.1 million per breach.

SEE WHAT PEOPLE ARE SAYING

Leave a Reply

Technology

Another Luxury Escapes bidder enters the fray

by Huntley Mitchell

It appears Luxury Escapes has pretty hot property right now, with yet another potential suitor showing interest in the online travel player.

Share

CommentComments

Hotels

Marriott to debut more than 30 luxe hotels in 2020

Much like the waistline of Travel Weekly’s editor (thanks to some early office Christmas gifts), Marriott’s presence is set to expand significantly.

Share

CommentComments

Cruise

“No survivors”: Royal Caribbean passengers feared dead after New Zealand volcanic eruption

by Ali Coulton

Multiple Australian travellers are feared dead after one of the world’s most active volcanos erupted in New Zealand during a cruise ship shore excursion.

Share

CommentComments

Aviation

Qantas inks new frequent flyer deal with Air France-KLM

Proving customer loyalty programs are big business comes this freshly-inked partnership between two aviation giants.

Share

CommentComments

Destinations

Queensland to bid for 2032 Olympics and Paralympics

Queensland is hoping to score the Olympics and Paralympics. No word yet though on whether Toowoomba or Mount Isa have been mooted to host the opening ceremony.

Share

CommentComments

Destinations

The safest and most dangerous destinations for LGBTQ+ travellers

As we approach 2020, it’s difficult to believe that for LGBTQ+ people, planning a trip can still be a minefield. Check out this helpful list to help keep your clients safe.

Share

CommentComments

Aviation

Jetstar ground crew to strike over unfair pay and safety concerns, says union boss

The Jetstar strikes saga continues, with ground crew and baggage handlers announcing they will walk off the job on Friday.

Share

CommentComments

Destinations

Reflections of a traveller: How to take in New York and Boston during the fall

by Katie Saffin

This article comes with a warning that readers could suffer from a severe case of FOMO and end up in a jealous rage.

Share

CommentComments

Aviation

Aviation Wrap: Australia ups counter-terror at airports, Qantaslink’s new routes, BA to 3D print plane parts + MORE!

Soar above your competition and impress your friends with all the latest airline news. Or at least kill a good 20 minutes by reading the whole thing.

Share

CommentComments

Tourism

OPINION: The 7 travel trends to keep an eye on in 2020

by Mike Flaskey

Want to impress your fellow colleagues during the next gathering around the office water cooler? Give this a read and then recite it word for word.

Share

CommentComments

Wholesalers

A&K takes over Cox & Kings’ UK business – is Australia next?

by Huntley Mitchell

Abercrombie & Kent is expanding its luxury wholesale presence in the UK by acquiring a rival. Could we see something similar here in Australia?

Share

CommentComments

Cruise

“Fiasco da Gama”: engine alarm triggers cruise ship blackout

Passengers onboard the Vasco da Gama were left without power and water, with some saying they are thankful the ship didn’t sink.

Share

CommentComments