European hotel group fined €6.7 million for discrimination
Saturday, 22 February 2020
On Friday, the European Commission imposed a fine of € 6.68 million on the Spanish hotel group Meliá for having prevented tour operators from offering, without restriction, hotel accommodation throughout Europe in 2014 and 2015.
“Consumers had access to offers at different prices depending on their nationality. Such a practice is illegal under the rules on anti-competitive practices,” European Commissioner for Competition Margrethe Vestager explained.
The general conditions of contracts that Meliá established with tour agencies included a clause stipulating that the bookings were only valid for persons residing in specific countries.
Consumers, therefore, could not see all available hotels or book available hotel rooms at the best prices with tour operators established in other Member States.
As Meliá cooperated with the Commission beyond its legal obligations and expressly acknowledged the facts, its fine was reduced by 30%. The amount takes into account the value of the sales related to the offense, the seriousness of the offense and its duration.
It is because consumers complained that the Commission opened antitrust investigations in February 2017 on Meliá, but also on the four largest European tour operators (Kuoni, REWE, Thomas Cook and TUI).
The investigation of the latter four did not lead to prosecution.