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Booking.com’s Parent Company Faces Record Fine from Spanish Regulator

 |  February 25, 2024

The parent company of Booking.com, a prominent player in the online hotel booking industry, is under fire from the Spanish competition regulator, CNMC. The CNMC is seeking to impose a staggering fine of 490 million euros on the company for alleged abuse of its dominant position within the market. While the fine has not yet been officially announced, Booking.com has been informed of the impending penalty. The company has indicated its intention to contest the decision.

The investigation by the Spanish regulator into Booking.com has been ongoing, prompted by suspicions of unfair practices directed towards certain hotels and travel organizations operating within Spain. A spokesperson for Booking.com expressed disappointment with the CNMC’s preliminary decision, stating, “We are disappointed with the CNMC’s draft decision and strongly disagree with the findings.” The company has vowed to challenge what it describes as an “unprecedented decision” if it is finalized.

Read more: EU Extends Deadline For Booking Holdings’ Acquisition Decision

Despite the regulatory challenges, Booking.com has reported positive performance metrics in terms of bookings and turnover. The company witnessed a nine percent increase in the number of bookings and a nearly eighteen percent rise in turnover, amounting to approximately 4.8 billion dollars. However, Booking.com noted that these figures could have been even stronger were it not for external factors such as the conflict in the Middle East.

The recent hostilities between Israel and Hamas had a tangible impact on Booking.com’s operations, resulting in a decrease in hotel room reservations and other accommodations in the affected region. This geopolitical unrest contributed to a slowdown in Booking.com’s growth trajectory, underscoring the vulnerability of the travel industry to external events beyond its control.

As Booking.com braces for the regulatory battle in Spain, the outcome of this dispute could have significant implications not only for the company but also for the broader online booking sector.

Source: NL Times