Recent court ruling welcomed but more scrutiny is demanded by Eu travel tech
Travel technology organisation calls for further action against Google
A travel body representing global distribution systems and online travel agencies has called for further action against Google, after a European court upheld a €2.42 billion fine imposed on the tech giant.
The General Court of the European Union has dismissed an appeal by Google, which was fined in 2017 by giving its own shopping recommendations an illegal advantage in search results.
The European Commission said Google had unfairly directed visitors to Google Shopping, to the detriment of competitors.
Eu travel tech welcomed the decision, calling it “an important step in making Google stop its abusive practices and the damages they inflict on competition and consumers, but it should not end here”.
It said in a statement that the European Commission must investigate Google’s practices in the travel sector.
“Today’s decision of the EU General Court in the Google Shopping case marks an important turnaround by forcing Google to stop discriminatory practices of self-preferencing,” said the statement.
“Over the course of the last eight years, eu travel tech and its members have raised grave concerns with the European Commission regarding Google’s abusive conduct in vertical search in the travel sector.
“The EU General Court’s decision shall pave the way for a new investigation of the European Commission regarding Google’s practices in travel, on the basis of the information already provided by the sector.
“There is more than sufficient evidence demonstrating Google’s material and consistent abuse of dominant position and discriminatory practices not only in Shopping, but also in travel and a precedent has now clearly been set by the General Court.”
Emmanuel Mounier, secretary-general of eu travel tech, commented: “The court’s ruling cannot fall on deaf ears. It confirms that Google’s practices of self-preferencing are an abnormality and have led to a weakening of competition and severe damaging consequences for consumer choice. But this exceeds the shopping vertical.
“We strongly encourage the European Commission to proceed with action on the travel sector, further pursuing the complaints of EU travel tech members and opening formal proceedings against Google.”
As well as GDSs and OTAs, eu travel tech represents the interests of travel management companies in business travel and metasearch sites.
Travel Weekly has contacted Google for a response.