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

Tourism

Federal govt announces “most significant” insolvency reforms in 30 years to help save struggling small businesses

Is your business on its last legs? Find some relief in this major announcement by the federal government.

Share

CommentComments

Hotels

Crystalbrook to take over boutique Brisbane hotel

The independent hospitality company has gone all arty-farty in expanding its east coast footprint.

Share

CommentComments

Cruise

WATCH: Dream Cruises produces delightfully cringeworthy safety video

Dream Cruises has taken a leaf out of the airline playbook by turning its safety instructions into a fun video. It’s overly cheesy, but kinda cute.

Share

CommentComments

Travel Agents

MTA agent wins coveted spot on Dutch famil

With the famil stopping in Amsterdam along the way, you’d hope this agent will remember to pack some extra-clear eye drops and plenty of snacks.

Share

CommentComments

Wholesalers

Collette releases 2021/22 travel guide with seven new tours

Tell your clients to get ready to gorge themselves on arancini and caponata because three of the seven new trips involve the jewel of the Italian south: Sicily!

Share

CommentComments

Aviation

Qantas scraps Wallabies sponsorship, makes nearly $1m selling fully-stocked bar carts

We’ve mixed the good news with the bad here in this Qantas story, so get ready to smile and frown.

Share

CommentComments

Hotels

Hotel Wrap: Crowne Plazas ready to return, W Brisbane’s Extreme WOW Suite + MORE

This week’s Hotel Wrap is so huge that we’ve nicknamed it ‘Goliath’. However, that’s not to suggest you should start slingshotting stones at it if your name is David.

Share

CommentComments

Cruise

Norwegian co-founder and cruise titan Knut Kloster dies

Kloster was not only a titan of the cruise industry, but also a humanitarian and environmentalist.

Share

CommentComments

Travel Agents

Flight Centre fills Infinity Holidays void, opening up The Travel Junction to all agents

As part of its plan to streamline its product support areas, Flight Centre will use TTJ to service Infinity’s old clients, plus some cheeky new ones.

Share

CommentComments

Aviation

Qantas workers likely to receive thousands in unpaid wages after airline loses JobKeeper court case

The Flying Kangaroo’s cost-saving targets just became a little harder to hit after this court decision.

Share

CommentComments

Destinations

These are the world’s most complained about attractions

All up, people have spent more than 17 days complaining about the landmark that made the top of this list. That’s a lot of negative Nancies.

Share

CommentComments

Wholesalers

TTC commits to new sustainability goals, plans to be carbon-neutral by 2030

Meanwhile, we’re reducing our carbon footprint by strapping a tiny solar panel to our office dog. We’re not sure what’s it’s powering, but he looks very cute.

Share

CommentComments