Published: December 18 2023
The Hungarian government, in response to the scandal involving Booking.com and delayed payments to accommodation providers, has submitted a new bill to the Hungarian parliament aimed at protecting local businesses and tourists. The bill includes stricter regulations for the accommodation services provider sector and changes in the hotel sector.
Stricter Regulations for Accommodation Services Providers
The new bill proposed by the ruling party, Fidesz, requires accommodation service providers to transfer money to hotels or service providers within 45 days. They will also be obligated to share currency exchange rate risks with service providers, bearing 50% of the costs. Additionally, accommodation service providers operating in at least three counties in Hungary will need to establish a Hungarian language customer support service and respond to complaints within 30 days.
Changes in Contract Terms and Responsibilities
Under the new bill, unfair contract terms against accommodation providers will be forbidden, giving them the right to turn to Hungarian courts in cases of legal disputes with platforms like Booking.com. Accommodation service providers will also be prohibited from imposing unilateral payment obligations. Furthermore, hotels and other providers will be responsible for guest comments and opinions shared and displayed on their platforms.
Recommendations from the Hungarian Competition Authority
The Hungarian Competition Authority (GVH) has conducted an investigation into the sector and supports tightening regulations to protect the interests of customers and hotels. The GVH suggests prohibiting price parity clauses for accommodation service providers and increasing transparency in the ranking criteria of search results for customers.
Overall, these new regulations aim to prevent future financial crises and bankruptcies among accommodation providers in Hungary, ensuring a fair and transparent system for both businesses and tourists.
Questions & Answers
What was the reason behind the new rules for Budapest hotels in Hungary? The new rules were implemented in response to a scandal involving Booking.com, where Hungarian accommodation providers did not receive their payments for weeks, leading some to face the possibility of bankruptcy.
Which political party introduced the new bill to rewrite the rules of the accommodation services provider sector in Hungary? Fidesz, Hungary's ruling party, submitted the new bill to the Hungarian parliament.
What changes were introduced in the new bill for accommodation service providers in Hungary? Under the new bill, accommodation service providers will have 45 days to transfer money to hotels and other service providers. They will also be required to share the currency exchange rate risks with the service providers on a 50-50 basis. Additionally, service providers active in at least three counties in Hungary will need to establish a personal and Hungarian language customer support service, and provide substantive responses to complaints within 30 days.
What rights do accommodation providers have under the new bill in Hungary? The new bill grants accommodation providers the right to turn to Hungarian courts if they have legal disputes with platforms like Booking.com. It also prohibits unfair contract terms against accommodation providers, and holds hotels and other providers responsible for guest comments and opinions shared on their platforms.
What recommendations did the Hungarian Competition Authority (GVH) make in relation to the accommodation services sector in Hungary? The GVH suggested tightening the rules in the sector to protect the interests of customers and hotels. They recommended forbidding price parity clauses for accommodation service providers and making the ranking criteria of search results on platforms more transparent.