Booking.com is being looked into for possible antitrust violations.
Spain is looking into whether the travel site abused its position as the market leader.
On Monday, Spain’s antitrust watchdog, CNMC, said it would look into the Dutch hotel reservation website Booking.com to see if it is doing anything to hurt hotels and other online travel agencies in the country.
The Spanish Association of Hotel Managers (AEDH) and the Madrid Hotel Business Association both filed complaints, the regulator said in a statement. It said that there were “reasonable grounds” to think that Booking.com may have broken Spain’s antitrust laws and article 102 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union, which says that companies can’t abuse a dominant market position.
AEDH President Manuel Vegas told Reuters, “What we really want is for those things to stop.”
It is said that the watchdog will look into the case over the next 18 months. Booking.com could be fined anywhere from €100,000 (nearly $98,000) to more than €10 million ($9.8 million) per violation if it is found to have broken Spanish antitrust law.
The people who filed complaints said that the booking website made unfair rules for hotels in Spain and put in place policies that could hurt other online travel agencies and online sales channels. The watchdog says it may have also taken advantage of Spanish hotels that depend on the popular website for finding places to stay.
Booking.com said in a statement that it would help the investigation in any way it could and answer any questions about its business in Spain.