Booking.com has prided itself on being a household name in its European home base, but will have a tough time avoiding a European Commission designation of gatekeeper. Such stature could bring increased restrictions.
Online Travel This Week
There's a lot to unpack from the dual regulatory initiatives that the European Commission unveiled this week, and it can't be welcome news to Google, Amazon, and Booking.com that antitrust czar Margrethe Vestager mentioned them Tuesday when advocating for "a complete set of tools" to marry antitrust and regulatory efforts when policing designated "gatekeepers."
The proposed Digital Markets Act would bar gatekeeper platforms from using the data they collect from businesses they host to compete against these same companies. Talk about frenemies.
It would also prohibit giant platforms from "self-preferencing" their own products, and ensure that third-party companies would not be shut out of any proprietary payments' systems the platforms develop.
Google and Amazon would definitely fall into some of these buckets, but it is unclear whether Booking.com, which is developing a payments platform as a strategic priority, would be targeted. Booking.com CEO Glenn Fogel is vehemently fighting the notion that the company is a gatekeeper, as defined by the European Commission, but that could be an uphill battle.
Bernstein's Richard Clarke argued in an investor note that Booking.com would "certainly" fit into the gatekeeper category because "13 percent of European