Norwalk-based Priceline Group Inc. is one of the targets of a lobbying campaign by a hotel industry trade group that hopes to convince consumers and the Trump administration that major online travel booking sites are operating as monopolies.
According to documents from American Hotel & Lodging Association (AHLA) board meetings that were reviewed by Bloomberg, Priceline and its main competitor Expedia will be the subject of hotel industry lobbying efforts aimed at the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), which has several vacancies that has yet to be filled. The AHLA is planning to lobby the administration to ensure that FTC vacancies are filled with new members who are friendly to the hotel industry.
As part of its campaign, the AHLA will highlight the powerful influence that Priceline and Expedia have over the travel industry. “The rollout will play off the Monopoly board game to better underscore that the individual companies are really owned only by two major players,” the AHLA documents said.
Furthermore, the hotel industry will make a public-facing campaign to highlight both its tech-savvy innovations while casting the home-sharing Airbnb service as having a negative effect on local tax revenues.
“There is nothing surprising about AHLA’s efforts to educate government officials and consumers about the negative consequences of increased consolidation within the online travel agency marketplace,” said Rosanna Maietta, senior vice president of communications for the AHLA, in response to Bloomberg’s report.