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Hotel booking sites investigated for misleading customers and high pressure selling

Hotel booking websites including Expedia, Trivago and Booking.com are being investigated by Britain's competition watchdog. The Competition and Markets Authority said it was concerned about the use of techniques such as 'pressure selling', the way discounts are applied and how hotels are ranked in search results.

The regulator has written to companies in the sector demanding information on their marketing practices. It also wants to hear from consumers and hotels about their experience using the sites.

The investigation will seek to examine how much search results are influenced by the amount of commission hotels pay the sites and whether claims about how many people are looking at a room or how many rooms are available rush consumers into hasty decisions. It will also look at the accuracy of discount claims and the use of hidden charges, including taxes and booking fees.

The sector is dominated by US giants Priceline Group, owner of Booking.com, Kayak and Agoda, and Expedia, which owns Hotels.com and Trivago.

Alex Neill, managing director of home products and services at consumer group Which?, said: "We found evidence of booking sites using pressure selling tactics and making claims about discount deals that don't add up. If the CMA finds breaches of consumer law, they should take enforcement action against those sites."

You'll have none of these problems when booking with DialAFlight - just great personal service, expert help, honest answers to all your questions and an experienced back-up service if anything goes wrong.

Our top 6 money savers you can't afford to miss

  • 50% off a Lagoon Hideaway Suite at Sandals La Source Grenada
  • 4 FREE nights of beach bliss in Koh Samui
  • Enjoy a stress-busting yoga retreat in Mexico - Save £200pp
  • Save £350pp at 5* LUX Grand Gaube, Mauritius
  • The very best of New Zealand - Save £500pp
  • Save 45% plus FREE HB at the FIVE Palm Jumeirah

My best holiday ever

Our Olympic hero Mo Farah loves his holiday burgers when he's in Dubai

What people are saying

A selection of customer comments from Trustpilot

10 top things you didn't know last month

  1. 1. Caribbean islands are battling back

    Some of the northeastern Caribbean islands devastated by recent hurricanes Irma and Maria are bouncing back faster than anticipated. Despite predictions that it could take them years to recover, some islands say they expect to be open to holidaymakers in time for Christmas. Anguilla, which was raked by 185 mph winds, is leading the way having already declared itself open for business. The British Virgin Islands are open to ships, St Maarten's airport is operating, and the Turks and Caicos are reported to be "well on their way back to normality". And the worst hit islands like Dominica and St Barts are working flat out to get the infrastructure back and ready to welcome tourists.
  2. 2. Good time to cash in on Cuba

    Travellers eyeing up a holiday in Cuba this winter could take advantage of massive discounts amid a souring of relationships with the U.S. There are great offers available at foreign and state run hotels, with reports of up to 65 per cent reductions in cities and the holiday resort area of Varadero. The swathes of savings are available thanks to the prospect of another fallow year for Cuban tourism, Donald Trump's reversal of Barack Obama's amicable stance on the island and the impact of recent hurricanes on the north coast beach resorts.
  3. 3. No, not your bags, we want to weigh YOU!

    Weighing passengers at check-in. It sounds like something Ryanair would pioneer, but this month Finnair has been leading the charge. Passengers at Helsinki airport flying with the national airline have been asked to step onto the scales prior to boarding. The voluntary scheme - passengers who don't want to do it are still allowed to fly - is gathering data on passenger weight, to see if the estimates they're currently using to calculate fuel and safety are accurate.
  4. 4. Virtually impossible to replace info centres

    Plans to replace traditional tourist information centres with 'virtual' hubs in some of the UK's most remote areas has been branded unworkable because mobile and broadband coverage is so poor. Visit Scotland, the government tourist agency, is to close two thirds of its Visitor Information Centres including many in far flung regions such as the Outer Hebrides, Shetland and Thurso on the north coast. A spokesman for the Hebrides tourist board said: "The notion that everybody is going digital is an Edinburgh-centric view. You're pleased if you pick up a voice call up here, let alone download a website."
  5. 5. It's fast track to Africa

    Africa's railway network is set to receive a major upgrade with the arrival of its fastest ever train. Engineers in Morocco recently tested trains capable of reaching 200mph, just above the top speed of the Eurostar, slashing journey times between the country's key cities by two thirds. The 215 mile journey between Casablanca and Tangier, via the capital Rabat, will take just over two hours, rather than the current five, when the service launches next summer.
  6. 6. Cold comfort for Airbnb landlords

    The most prolific Airbnb landlord in Iceland earned around £1.7 million in just a year, figures show, with five other individuals banking more than £700,000 in the same period of time. Figures just released by the government's tourism statisticians revealed that the 10 highest earners renting out rooms or flats via the accommodation platform raked in more than £7.9 million in the 12 months to date.
  7. 7. You'll have to face the fish in Dubai

    Dubai International Airport is doing away with security counters next year and introducing virtual fish to verify passengers identities. Instead of waiting in line at passport kiosks or e-gates, travellers will be able to walk through a virtual aquarium tunnel in which 80 cameras will scan their faces to capture biometric data. The fish help attract the attention of passengers to different corners of the tunnel, allowing cameras to see their whole face. The first "biometric boarders" will appear towards the end of 2018 at the airport's Terminal Three, with other terminals being fitted with them by 2020.
  8. 8. Bigger bills in the Balearics

    The Balearic Islands plan to double tourist taxes during the peak season in an effort to tackle an overcrowding problem. The archipelago has seen a huge rise in oversees arrivals this year, prompting calls for measures to protect the region from unchecked growth and environmental damage. Raising the tourist tax by as much as £3.50 per person per day, depending on the type of accommodation used, will help fund ecological projects, authorities say, as well as encourage holidaymakers to visit out of season.
  9. 9. Water on the menu in Norway

    A Norwegian design firm is planning to open Europe's first underwater restaurant near the village of Baly on the country's south coast. From the outside, the establishment, appropriately named Under, looks like a concrete container that's slipped into the sea, but inside will be a dining experience like no other on the continent with space for up to 100 guests - and a huge observation window offering briny views of the North Atlantic. The company hoping to have the restaurant up and running by 2019 says the exterior will double as a mussel reef, while the building will also act as a marine research centre.
  10. 10. Spike Island makes its point

    Spike Island, once considered Ireland's answer to Alcatraz, has been named Europe's leading tourist attraction for 2017 in the World Travel Awards. The former prison to the south west of the country ranked ahead of the Eiffel Tower, Rome's Colosseum and the Hermitage Museum in a vote open to the public and travel professionals. Once a monastic settlement off the coast of County Cork, Spike Island has since been used as a military fortification and prison before being converted for visitors. It now has the chance to be crowned the world's best tourist attraction.

Offers

  1. 50% off a Lagoon Hideaway Suite at Sandals La Source Grenada

    Perfectly placed on the exotic Pink Gin beach, this extraordinary 5* resort offers guests a lavish getaway with nine restaurants, private plunge pools and the safe haven of The Red Lane Spa for ultimate relaxation. Have an experience like no other here, with innovative design accentuating the romantic atmosphere created by the intoxicating scents of spice and tropical blooms - the perfect spot for romance. Save 50% on an all inclusive 7 night stay with British Airways flights included. Valid for deps 23 Apr - 29 Jun 2018.
  2. 4 FREE nights of beach bliss in Koh Samui

    Choose the beautiful Bandara Resort and Spa for a true family favourite on the peaceful north coast of Koh Samui. With prime access to quiet beaches and a host of leisure activities including a luxury spa and four swimming pools, there's something for everyone at this 4* escape. You'll also find signature international dining on site, just steps away from the Gulf of Thailand. Stay 8 nights for the price of 4 with our offer inclusive of breakfast, transfers and flights with Singapore airlines.
  3. Enjoy a stress-busting yoga retreat in Mexico - Save £200pp

    Discover the true meaning of harmony with a laid-back stay at Amansala, an eco-chic resort set right on the beach in Tulum. Boasting superb cuisine, spacious accommodation and a truly laidback atmosphere, it's not hard to unwind on this seaside break. Your stay includes the "Beach N Bliss" package, with daily yoga sessions on the soft sands, deliciously fresh and healthy food and even a tour of Tulum's highlights - perfect for rejuvenation of mind, body and soul. Our offer includes full board, private transfers and flights with British Airways. Valid for deps 19 Apr - 23 May 2018.
  4. Save £350pp at 5* LUX Grand Gaube, Mauritius

    Overlooking the triple bay beaches, lagoon and north islands of Mauritius, the LUX Grand Gaube is the perfect tropical paradise for a secluded getaway. With a stylish retro-chic tropical design, the resort blends seamlessly into its lush surrounds, with a peaceful lagoon and two tranquil beaches typifying the local aura. Our offer includes savings of £350pp at this brand new resort, with 7 nights' bed and breakfast included when you travel 02 - 17 Jun 2018. Flights are with Emirates.
  5. The very best of New Zealand - Save £500pp

    Take in all of the highlights of New Zealand's South and North Islands on a 16 day escorted tour. Behold the legendary natural beauty and inspiring culture of this country, including scenes straight out of the Lord of the Rings. Beginning in the lovely city of Christchurch you will visit Queenstown, Dunedin, Milford Sound, Fox Glacier, Wellington, Rotorua, Auckland and the Bay of Islands seeing stunning scenery along the way. Save £500pp with our offer including transportation, guiding and some meals. Flights are with Emirates.
  6. Save 45% plus FREE HB at the FIVE Palm Jumeirah

    A beachfront resort with breathtaking views of the Arabian Gulf, the 5* FIVE Palm Jumeirah is one of the latest additions to Dubai's beaches, with easy access to the city's tourist attractions. Offering the choice between soft sands and a huge pool, the resort provides endless opportunities from a vast array of dining opportunities to activities galore. Save 45% with our offer and enjoy complimentary half board. 3 nights from £675pp when you travel 13 May - 11 Jun 2018. Flights are with Royal Brunei.

My Favourite Holiday

Our Olympic hero Sir Mo Farah loves his holiday burgers when he's not running up and down the dunes in Dubai

Your first holiday memories Growing up in Somalia, I lived in a shack with a tin roof and eight people to a bedroom, so going on holiday wasn't really an option. When I moved to Britain, school holidays were a time for visiting other family members in London, not for jetting off to stay in some nice hotel. My kids have already been to Miami and Hawaii, and my oldest has been to Disneyland Paris... I'm so happy they get to do what I couldn't as a kid.

What are holidays like now? Tania and I have four children under the age of 12, so holidays are pretty full on. They have unbelievable amounts of energy, so in Miami while everyone else is reading books and sunbathing by the pool, I'm running around on the beach, playing with the kids, kicking a football. I'm away training or competing seven months of the year so holidays are my big chance to spend time with the kids.

What do you do on holiday? Even on holiday, I run every day. It's probably why I get through a pair of trainers every week. One of the most spectacular places I've run is on the beach in Dubai, with all those amazing buildings rising almost straight out of the sea. Even though I don't drink, I'm pretty sociable so you'll often find me at the hotel bar chatting with people.

What do you eat on holiday? I love trying out new food. I'll eat pretty much anything, and I think, because I travel so much, my body is used to strange foods. I never really get sick and burgers are my ultimate holiday treat, especially as I can't really eat them during the racing season.

Do you like flying? People who travel a lot often complain about planes and airports, but I like them. I love movies, so being on a plane is like being in the cinema. Passport control can be a bit of a pain, but maybe now that I have become a knight, it'll be different. Having the word 'Sir' on my passport should help.

Your favourite destination? Dubai is somewhere I'd definitely like to go back to with the kids. There is so much to do out there, with loads of water parks and beaches and water skiing and camel trekking. The hotels are out of this world as well. Tania and I had an awesome day out in the desert. I did a bit of running up and down the dunes, then we raced around in dune buggies, which was so much fun.

For the full interview see Telegraph online

What people are saying

A selection of customer comments from Trustpilot

  • Brilliant service that takes the stress and hassle off your shoulders!

    I have recently travelled to Australia, flights and accommodation organised and arranged by Sam Swain from DialAFlight. Prior to contacting DialAFlight I did not have experience of booking long haul flights or accommodation in a different country on my own. I was quite overwhelmed by the amount of information and deals on the internet that I did not know what to go for or what to trust. DialAFlight was recommended to me by a close relative and I am so glad I got to know about this company. Sam was brilliant. He was attentive, he listened to me and dealt with all my enquiries with great professionalism. I felt assured that I was getting a good deal with DialAFlight and as a result, I had the best time while I was away. I cannot recommend Sam and DialAFlight highly enough. I will definitely use their travel services again in the future.

    Jenna gave DialAFlight 5 stars on Trust Pilot. Sparkling footnote: Jenna's name was pulled out of the hat in our monthly Trust Pilot draw and a case of Prosecco is on its way.
  • Our saviours when Monarch failed!

    Larry at DialAFlight saved our lives on the day that Monarch ceased trading. We were due to fly from Birmingham to Tenerife the next morning, and although we were online quite early in the morning what few flights were left were disappearing before our eyes. I rang DialAFlight at about 8.45 in desperation, and within quite a short time he found us return flights from Cardiff. Yes, they were expensive but included a night in a hotel in Tenerife which we were glad of because the new flights got us there too late to catch the ferry to La Gomera where we were staying. We ended up having a fantastic holiday which we feared wasn't going to happen!

    Christine Marlow gave DialAFlight 5 stars on Trust Pilot.
  • Why would anyone not use DialAFlight?

    I have used DialAFlight five times now and every time they have given me a 5* service saving me time and money. Their back up support before, during and after the trip is excellent too and a great comfort to know that you can call on them if there is a problem.

    I honestly cannot think why anyone wouldn't use them! It costs no more than booking the flights yourself and you can be sure you are getting the best deal without spending hours checking yourself...

    Jane Waring gave DialAFlight 5 stars on Trust Pilot.
  • My booking took just two minutes from a coffee shop!

    I have used DialaFlight many times now. My main points of contact are Nathan and Malcolm who I have always found to be helpful and reliable. They keep an eye on every booking I have ever made with them. This year my wife took her first long haul holiday and she is quite a nervous traveller A few days before we were due to depart, Nathan took time to write a lovely email to her to reassure her that everything had been confirmed and if he could offer any advice.

    My last business trip to the USA was booked in all of two minutes from a coffee shop in town. All I had to do was call, Malcolm answered, gave him the dates. He checked availability and confirmed flights and car hire whilst chatting to him on the phone. Soooo easy. The prices are also good and I have never been able to better their price without many many hours of surfing the net.

    Added to that when I booked flight and car together I got the advantage of the atol insurance as it was classed as a package deal.

    Really can't praise the guys highly enough and have no hesitation in recommending them.

    Steve Lipton gave DialAFlight 5 stars on Trust Pilot.

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