HALF of major travel websites rank hotels higher if they are paid commission for reservations, a study found.
Of 14 major booking sites, eight admitted that payment boosted hotels in their default search results, consumer website MoneySavingExpert.com revealed.
Search results show a ‘recommended’ or ‘top pick’ hotel when people book via a hotel broker or comparison site. These are chosen according to algorithms based on factors such as price, location and reviews.
But many sites confirmed hotels would be ranked higher than similar alternatives if a booking site is paid, or paid more, when a reservation is made.
This was the case for Agoda, Booking.com, Ebookers, Expedia, Kayak, Hotels.com, Trivago and Trip.com, the study found. By contrast, Lastminute.com, Skyscanner, TravelSupermarket, ZenHotels, Getaroom and Netflights said payment deals did not affect rankings.
The issue was flagged up recently by the Competition and Markets Authority, which cited ‘failure to disclose the effect of payments on search results’ as a concern.
Guy Anker, deputy editor at MoneySavingExpert.com, said at least sites were transparent. He added: ‘Don’t see the fact that a hotel booking site could skew its rankings as a reason not to use one. They may still offer the best price.’
The named websites said they comply with rules by telling customers that commission may affect ranking.
Nike boss’s exit ‘not linked to Salazar row’
NIKE’S chief executive is to step down in January after more than 13 years in the job.
Mike Parker will be replaced by board member John Donahoe, ex-boss of eBay. The departing CEO, who will become executive chairman, said the succession plan was months in the making and had ‘absolutely nothing’ to do with the scandal over Nike’s Oregon Project.
The training programme for elite athletes is to be shut down after Sir Mo Farah’s former coach Alberto Salazar, who ran it, was this month banned for four years by the US Anti-Doping Agency.
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