The Competition Commission of India (CCI) has directed MakeMyTrip to allow budget hotel companies Treebo and FabHotels to relist their properties on its platforms, The Economic Times reported. The order came as part of an ongoing investigation into MakeMyTrip’s alleged abuse of its dominant position towards the competitors of its partner Oyo.
MMT-Go’s (MakeMyTrip and Goibibo) delisting of the travel chains had affected competition by denying them access to distribution, CCI reportedly said. Though the case in still ongoing and the CCI said that nothing in its interim order shall tantamount to a final opinion, it noted that the contractual commitment between MakeMyTrip and Oyo may tip the competition landscape in the two companies’ favour. It also reportedly noted that MakeMyTrip’s agreement with Oyo was conditioned on removing Treebo and FabHotels’ properties since they were Oyo’s competitors.
MakeMyTrip had delisted the properties of Treebo and FabHotels in 2018 after signing a commercial agreement with Oyo.
The CCI’s probe into MakeMyTrip has been ongoing since October 2019, when it had ordered an investigation based on a complaint filed by the Federation of Hotels and Restaurant Associations of India (FHRAI). A few months later, in February 2020, the CCI clubbed this investigation with another probe into alleged abuse of dominance by MakeMyTrip and Oyo Hotels, on the basis of a complaint filed by Treebo Hotels (operated by Rubtub Solutions Pvt. Ltd.).
Among the various issues that Treebo raised was the commercial arrangement between Oyo and MMT, wherein MakeMyTrip agreed to remove Oyo’s competitors, including Treebo, from its platform. Treebo had compained that MakeMyTrip imposed price restrictions on Treebo’s partner hotels via a Chain Agreement, under which Treebo was disallowed from listing its properties at cheaper rates on MakeMyTrip’s competitors Booking.com and Paytm. In addition, Treebo said MakeMyTrip restricted it from listing properties on Booking.com and Paytm for 72 hours and 30 days prior to check-in for hotels in major cities.
While clubbing both probes in February 2020, the CCI had recognised that Treebo’s first two complaints are similar to those examined against Oyo and MakeMyTrip in the October 2019 probe order. The CCI found both players to be dominant, and indulging in abusive practices by denying market share via a commercial agreement between them, price and room parity restrictions, predatory pricing, etc.