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Price Parity Clauses for Hotel Room Booking: Empirical Evidence from Regulatory Change

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  • Ennis, Sean
  • Ivaldi, Marc
  • Lagos, Vicente

Abstract

This paper examines the impact of most favored nation (MFN) clauses on retail prices, taking advantage of two natural experiments that changed vertical contracting between hotels and major digital platforms. The broad E.U. intervention narrowed the breadth of "price parity" obligations between hotels and major Online Travel Agencies (OTAs). Direct sales by hotels to customers subsequently became relatively cheaper. Comparisons with hotel pricing outside the E.U. confirm the reduction in prices for mid-level and luxury hotels. France and Germany went further and eliminated all price-parity agreements. This stronger intervention was associated solely with a significant additional price-reducing effect for mid-level hotels in Germany. Overall, wide MFNs are associated with higher retail prices. Regulating MFNs reduced prices with primary effects coming either from the narrow price-parity intervention or, perhaps, from direct sales becoming cheaper than OTAs in both E.U. and non-E.U. countries, and, interestingly, not from complete elimination of MFNs.

Suggested Citation

  • Ennis, Sean & Ivaldi, Marc & Lagos, Vicente, 2020. "Price Parity Clauses for Hotel Room Booking: Empirical Evidence from Regulatory Change," CEPR Discussion Papers 14771, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  • Handle: RePEc:cpr:ceprdp:14771
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Hunold, Matthias & Kesler, Reinhold & Laitenberger, Ulrich & Schlütter, Frank, 2018. "Evaluation of best price clauses in online hotel bookings," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 61(C), pages 542-571.
    2. Johansen, Bjørn Olav & Vergé, Thibaud, 2017. "Platform price parity clauses with direct sales," Working Papers in Economics 01/17, University of Bergen, Department of Economics.
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    5. David H. Autor, 2003. "Outsourcing at Will: The Contribution of Unjust Dismissal Doctrine to the Growth of Employment Outsourcing," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 21(1), pages 1-42, January.
    6. Pinar Akman & D. Daniel Sokol, 2017. "Online RPM and MFN Under Antitrust Law and Economics," Review of Industrial Organization, Springer;The Industrial Organization Society, vol. 50(2), pages 133-151, March.
    7. Wals, Francisca & Schinkel, Maarten Pieter, 2018. "Platform monopolization by narrow-PPC-BPG combination: Booking et al," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 61(C), pages 572-589.
    8. Andrea Mantovani & Claudio Piga & Carlo Reggiani, 2017. "The dynamics of online hotel prices and the EU Booking.com case," Working Papers 17-04, NET Institute.
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    Cited by:

    1. Mantovani, Andrea & Piga, Claudio A. & Reggiani, Carlo, 2021. "Online platform price parity clauses: Evidence from the EU Booking.com case," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 131(C).

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Digital Platforms; Hotel Industry; Impact Evaluation; Most favored customer; Most favored nation; Online Travel Agency; Price Parity Clause;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • K21 - Law and Economics - - Regulation and Business Law - - - Antitrust Law
    • L14 - Industrial Organization - - Market Structure, Firm Strategy, and Market Performance - - - Transactional Relationships; Contracts and Reputation
    • L42 - Industrial Organization - - Antitrust Issues and Policies - - - Vertical Restraints; Resale Price Maintenance; Quantity Discounts
    • L81 - Industrial Organization - - Industry Studies: Services - - - Retail and Wholesale Trade; e-Commerce

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