Day Headlines in Shopping news: 2015-09-03

  • Online travel booking: Lufthansa and Expedia under pressure (The Economist Online Shopping 2015-09-03 12:20:25)
    MARK it down: the week of August 31st shall henceforth be known, in travel-industry circles at least, as Expedia Backlash Week. On Monday the New York Times reported on efforts by hotels to fight back against increasingly dominant third-party booking agents such as Expedia, Priceline and Orbitz—and the hefty fees they charge. Hotels are offering perks to customers who book with them directly, including free meals, expedited check-in and the ability to select their rooms in advance, as they would their seats on a plane. They are also fighting Expedia’s proposed $1.3 billion merger with Orbitz. Expedia, which has already acquired two other big travel sites this year, Travelocity and Wotif, would become the overwhelming third-party online-booking leader, controlling three-quarters of the American market. That, hotels fear, would give the company too much power to negotiate the commissions that hotels pay.Then there’s the battle in the skies. Lufthansa created a stir when it announced that it would charge an extra €16 ($18) to customers who book flights through a global distribution system (GDS), the technology used by internet travel sites and travel agents. That surcharge took effect on Tuesday. The German airline argues that the fee simply compensates for the amount it must pay these third-party agents. Other airlines could conceivably follow suit. On ...