Booking.com Hit With EU’s ‘Gatekeeper’ Status, Faces Tighter Regulation



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Online travel giant Booking.com will be held to a stricter regulatory standard in 27 European countries, but it remains to be seen what the true impact will be.

The European Commission said on Monday it had designated Booking.com’s parent company, Booking Holdings, as having “gatekeeper” regulatory status under the European Union’s Digital Markets Act. The move came as part of a broader effort to rein in tech giants such as Google and Apple.

Booking has six months to submit a report outlining how it complies with certain obligations. Non-compliance could lead to fines of up to 10% of the company’s total worldwide revenue.

“We have been working with the European Commission for some time as we anticipated today’s decision,” said a Booking Holdings spokesperson. “We are reviewing their designation decision now and will continue to work constructively with them as we develop solutions to comply.”

Stricter Regulations

The move will impose stricter obligations on Booking.com regarding content moderation, fair competition, and making it easier for consumers to switch to other providers. The European Commission said its action will make sure Booking is “offering more choice and freedom to end users and fair access of business users to the gatekeeper services.”

Under the Digital Markets Act, tech companies having at least an $82 billion market cap and 45 million active monthly users face mandates on how they do business in Europe.

Skift has followed the story since 2020 when European Commission antitrust czar Margrethe Vestager floated the idea that Booking.com might be designated as a gatekeeper. Skift has noted that the potential impact may be overblown, given how previous efforts to change the contracts Booking.com and other online travel players have with hotel companies didn’t much change the dynamics in Europe.

Brussels last year blocked Booking’s bid for eTraveli, a smaller online travel agency, claiming the deal would lead to higher consumer prices.

Vestager said in a press statement that the decision means that vacationers “will start benefiting from more choice and hotels will have more business opportunities.”



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