Since 1 December 2022, contracts that online platforms often get hotels to sign to stop them offering prices lower than those offered via the platform are no longer legally enforceable in Switzerland due to a change in law. This week, broadcaster RTS published the results of a market test it performed to see if the legal change had had any effect.
RTS checked the prices of 287 rooms across Switzerland directly on hotels’ own websites and via the platform Booking.com. In one case it found reserving on Booking.com 54% more expensive. Two nights at the Hotel Rössli in Weggis in the canton of Luzern cost CHF 279 booking directly and CHF 429 (+54%) reserving on Booking.com. This made booking directly 33% cheaper than reserving via the platform. Another hotel, the Attica Résidences in St-Sulpice in the canton of Vaud was 29% cheaper booked directly. Another 10 hotels were between 21% and 15% cheaper booked directly and a further 17 between 13% and 7% less expensive.
Overall, 52 out of the 70 hotels checked by RTS were cheaper booking directly than via the platform.
However, there were hotels where it was cheaper to reserve on Booking.com. The Modern Times Hotel in Vevey was 8% more expensive booked directly than via the platform and the ibis Lausanne Centre 4% pricier. The boss of the Modern Times Hotel explained how the hotel offered discounted deals via platforms to attract more clients during the low season. However, for four months of the year it was cheaper to book directly, he sais
The takeaway seems to be that it pays to check prices on both the hotels’ websites and the booking platforms to see which is cheaper.