ACCC takes Trivago to court over misleading TV ads

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission is taking hotel comparison website Trivago to court over “misleading hotel pricing representations” in its TV and website advertising.

Trivago ran television commercials which positioned the company as an impartial comparison website offering objective price comparisons. In reality, Trivago prioritised advertisers who paid the most per click.

The “misleading” television advertisement. 

The ACCC alleges Trivago gave the impression to users that they are getting the best hotel deals from its aggregation process, which highlights one ‘best’ price, when in reality many of the highlighted prices were not actually the best deal.

Rod Sims, chair of the ACCC, said in a statement: “Based on Trivago’s highlighted price display on its website, we allege that consumers may have formed the incorrect impression that Trivago’s highlighted deals were the best price they could get at a particular hotel, when that was not the case. Trivago based its rankings on the highest cost per click it would receive from its advertisers.

“We allege that because of the design of Trivago’s website and representations made, consumers were denied a genuine choice about choosing a hotel deal, by making choices based on this misleading impression created by the Trivago website.”

As well as the initial misleading comparison claims, the ACCC alleges Trivago doesn’t compare the same hotel rooms, instead compares a standard room with a luxury room at the same hotel, which creates a false impression of savings to users.

“We are very concerned that such platforms convey an impression that their services are designed to benefit consumers, when in fact listings are based on which supplier pays the most to the platform,” Sims added.

A spokesperson from Trivago said in a statement to Mumbrella: “We agree with the ACCC’s earlier public statement that ‘comparator websites can assist consumers to make more informed purchasing decisions when comparing what are often quite complex products, and can promote healthy competition by assisting small or new service providers to compete more effectively.’

“We are disappointed by the action the ACCC has chosen to take in relation to Trivago and will vigorously defend our interests.”


Get the latest media and marketing industry news (and views) direct to your inbox.

Sign up to the free Mumbrella newsletter now.



Sign up to our free daily update to get the latest in media and marketing.