Antitrust: Commission fines hotel group Meliá €6.7 million for discriminating between customers | EU Commission Press

The European Commission has fined Spanish hotel group Meliá €6 678 000 for including restrictive clauses in its agreements with tour operators. These clauses discriminate consumers within the European Economic Area (EEA) based on their place of residence, in breach of EU antitrust rules. At the same time, the Commission closed proceedings opened in 2017 against four tour operators. More specifically, Meliá’s standard terms and conditions for contracts with tour operators contained a clause according to which those contracts were valid only for reservations of consumers who were resident in specified countries. These agreements may have partitioned the European Single Market by restricting the ability of the tour operators to sell freely the hotel accommodation in all EEA countries and to respond to direct requests from consumers who were residents outside the defined countries. As a result, consumers were not able to see the full hotel availability or book hotel rooms at the best prices with tour operators in other Member States. The Commission has concluded that Meliá’s illegal practices deprived European consumers of the possibility to have more choice and get a better deal when shopping. Executive Vice-President Margrethe Vestager, in charge of competition policy, said: “This time of the year, many people are booking their summer vacation and are looking for the best deals on offer. Meliá prevented tour operators from freely offering hotel accommodation everywhere in Europe. As a result, consumers had access to different offers and different prices based on their nationality. This is illegal under antitrust rules. Consumers should be able to make full use of the Single Market and to shop around for the best deal.” The full press release is available online in ENFRDEES