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Choice Hotels, InterContinental Settle Antitrust Case

 |  August 16, 2021

Choice Hotels and an InterContinental Hotels affiliate have reached confidential settlements resolving antitrust litigation over their alleged role in a scheme to prop up prices by rigging online search advertising, according to federal court filings in Texas.

The sealed agreements were docketed Aug. 12 and Aug. 13 in the US District Court for the Eastern District of Texas, where the case was brought in 2018 by Travelpass, a Utah company that sells hotel rooms through digital advertisements displayed alongside search engine results.

The lawsuit contested that Choice Hotels International, Hilton, Hyatt Hotels Corporation, InterContinental Hotels Group, Marriott International and Wyndham Worldwide took part in an anticompetitive agreement to reduce or eliminate online branded keyword search advertising against each other. Hagens Berman maintains that as a result of this, consumers were deprived of the “free flow of competitive information,” raising the price of hotel rooms as well as the cost of finding rooms.

“Instead of honest competition, these hotel chains chose to cheat the system and deceive their customers,” Steve Berman, managing partner of Hagens Berman, said in a statement. “We believe consumers deserve payback from defendants for their deceptive advertising practices. Millions of consumers have collectively been upcharged by billions of dollars since 2015.”

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