Expedia Allegedly Colluded With Marriott, Hilton, Hyatt, Wyndham Against Competitors
This post contains references to products from one or more of our advertisers. We may receive compensation when you click on links to those products. Terms apply to the offers listed on this page. For an explanation of our Advertising Policy, visit this page.
Utah-based online booking agency Travelpass Group LLC alleges that online travel agency Expedia colludes with Marriott, Wyndham and several other major hotel chains to manipulate Google search results from competing brands. If proven true, the alleged actions would violate antitrust laws governing online travel booking.
“The defendant hotels’ illegal activities have severely reduced, and in many cases even eliminated, the revolutionary benefits of the Internet economy for hotel consumers,” Travelpass said in its lawsuit. “The conspiracy has left in its wake an online travel booking marketplace characterized by deliberately limited information and high transaction costs.”
Travelpass originally filed its lawsuit in Texas, and the case has been picked up by a number of US state attorneys general. The agency’s complaint also implicates Hilton, Caesars Entertainment, Hyatt, Six Continents Hotels (part of InterContinental), Choice Hotels and Red Roof Inn as defendants.
Federal and state antitrust laws prohibit collusion between companies that would harm competition. The Travelpass lawsuit alleges that Expedia, which also owns Orbitz, Hotels.com and Trivago, actively coordinated agreements between its partner hotels to avoid bidding on branded keywords on Google’s AdWords platform, going so far as to provide monitoring reports on agreement compliance. Expedia also instructed affiliate agencies like Travelpass to follow the company’s policy, or else risk losing access to hotel room inventory.
The Utah state attorney general’s office opened its investigation after Travelpass filed the complaint. A local Utah court has ordered Travelpass, which currently is undergoing arbitration proceedings with Expedia, to civil investigative demands.
TPG reached out to Expedia, Marriott, Hilton, Hyatt, Choice Hotels, InterContinental and Caesar’s Entertainment but had not hear back from most defendants as of the time of publication. Red Roof Inn told TPG that the company is not making any statements regarding the lawsuit at this time, and Wyndham also said it has no comment to offer.
Featured photo courtesy of Marriott.
Welcome to The Points Guy!
Earn 90,000 bonus miles and 10,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $3,000 in purchases on your new card in the first three months of card membership. Offer ends 11/10/2021.
With Status Boost™, earn 10,000 Medallion Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $25,000 in purchases on your Card in a calendar year, up to two times per year getting you closer to Medallion Status. Earn 3X Miles on Delta purchases and purchases made directly with hotels, 2X Miles at restaurants and at U.S. supermarkets and earn 1X Mile on all other eligible purchases. Terms Apply.
- Limited Time Offer: Earn 90,000 Bonus Miles and 10,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $3,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months. Offer expires 11/10/2021.
- Earn up to 20,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) with Status Boost® per year. After you spend $25,000 in purchases on your Card in a calendar year, you can earn 10,000 MQMs two times per year, getting you closer to Medallion® Status. MQMs are used to determine Medallion® Status and are different than miles you earn toward flights.
- Earn 3X Miles on Delta purchases and purchases made directly with hotels.
- Earn 2X Miles at restaurants worldwide, including takeout and delivery and at U.S. supermarkets.
- Earn 1X Miles on all other eligible purchases.
- Receive a Domestic Main Cabin round-trip companion certificate each year upon renewal of your Card. *Payment of the government imposed taxes and fees of no more than $75 for roundtrip domestic flights (for itineraries with up to four flight segments) is required. Baggage charges and other restrictions apply. See terms and conditions for details.
- Enjoy your first checked bag free on Delta flights.
- Fee Credit for Global Entry or TSA Pre✓®.
- Enjoy an exclusive rate of $39 per person per visit to enter the Delta Sky Club® for you and up to two guests when traveling on a Delta flight.
- No Foreign Transaction Fees.
- $250 Annual Fee.
- Terms Apply.
- See Rates & Fees