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

News

How Travel Weekly has got your back during the COVID-19 crisis

We’ve come up with a few initiatives to help you recover from the impact of the COVID-19 crisis and come out the other side stronger than ever. Find out what they are here.

Share

CommentComments

Events

Women in Travel Awards winners’ circle: Siobhan Foley, Accenture

Looking for some inspo for your Women in Travel Awards entry? Siobhan Foley’s story will have you hitting ‘submit’ in no time.

Share

CommentComments

Destinations

Aloha Friday Wrap: Hawaii’s message to travellers, Hawaiian Airlines helps out medical workers + MORE!

This week’s Aloha Friday Wrap details how the US island state and its airline are responding to the COVID-19 crisis, and also provides some holiday inspo for once things return to normal.

Share

CommentComments

Destinations

“Aloha from our home to yours”: Hawaii’s message to travellers

Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, the Hawaii Tourism Authority has asked travellers to postpone their trips to the US island state so it can effectively address the health crisis.

Share

CommentComments

Aviation

Hawaiian Airlines to support medical workers with complimentary flights

Hawaiian Airlines will provide complimentary neighbour island flights for medical professionals during the month of April to support travel associated with COVID-19 response efforts.

Share

CommentComments

Destinations

Here’s how your clients can experience Oahu’s rich history and culture

by Ashlee Galea

An integral part of making a Hawaii holiday amazing, aside from beach time and tropical cocktails, is taking a deep dive into the culture and history of the Hawaiian Islands.

Share

CommentComments

Cruise

Carnival president slams NSW government’s “bitterly disappointing” treatment of cruise industry

by Ali Coulton

Sture Myrmell says the state government is not only putting remaining crew members at risk, but also impacting the cruise industry as a whole.

Share

CommentComments

Aviation

Qantas under investigation following cleaner’s suspension

Following news that ASIC would investigate Qantas, SafeWork NSW has launched a probe into the suspension of an aircraft cleaner who was employed by the national carrier.

Share

CommentComments

Destinations

“The world will soon return”: Abu Dhabi says city’s silence is a time for reflection

by Christian Fleetwood

Abu Dhabi has released a message of hope, looking forward to the moment the emirate can welcome the world again.

Share

CommentComments

Destinations

WATCH: Empty Welsh streets taken over by tribe of goats

In the deserted streets of Llandudno in northern Wales, where residents are on lockdown, goats have descended from the Great Orme and into the town.

Share

CommentComments

Technology

Webjet pulls plug on cruise sales business, actions 440-plus redundancies

by Huntley Mitchell

The online travel company has resumed trading on the ASX, but not before detailing some harsh measures to mitigate the impact of the COVID-19 outbreak.

Share

CommentComments

Hotels

Marriott suffers data breach involving 5.2 million guests

What started as a headache for Marriott’s boss amid the COVID-19 crisis has turned into a migraine following this unfortunate news.

Share

CommentComments