Excerpt from SE Texas Record
By agreeing not to bid on each other's branded keywords, major hotel chains allegedly engaged in a conspiracy to stifle competition, keep prices high and make it harder for consumers to comparison shop – that's the primary accusation made in an antitrust lawsuit brought by the TravelPass Group, an online travel agency.
However, there seems to be a flaw in the argument, at least according to a recently filed motion to dismiss, which points out that any lack of competition for branded keywords would, if anything, benefit TravelPass, making it easier and cheaper for the company to win a bidding contest.
TravelPass filed its complaint on Dec. 6 in the U.S. Court for the Eastern District of Texas, naming Caesars Entertainment, Choice Hotels, Hilton, Hyatt, Marriott, Red Roof Inns, Six Continents Hotels and the Wyndham Hotel Group as defendants.
TravelPass is what's called a "downstream" online travel agency (OTA). The company resells rooms that hotel chains make available to "upstream" OTAs, such as Expedia or Booking.com.
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