Airlines, hotels, and retailers in EU worry about exclusion in Google’s search alterations

The groups have expressed concerns about potential discrimination and decreased revenues due to adjustments that could give more prominence to online intermediaries.

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Lobbying groups representing airlines, hotels, and retailers in Europe are urging the EU tech regulators to ensure that Google considers their views, not just those of large intermediaries, when implementing changes to comply with landmark tech regulations. These groups, including Airlines for Europe, Hotrec, EuroCommerce, and Ecommerce Europe, had previously expressed concerns about the potential impact of the EU’s Digital Markets Act (DMA) on their revenues.

The DMA aims to impose rules on tech giants like Google to give users more choice and offer competitors a fairer chance to compete. However, these industry groups fear the proposed adjustments could harm their direct sales revenues and exacerbate discrimination. In a joint letter to EU antitrust chief Margrethe Vestager and EU industry chief Thierry Breton, dated 22 May, they emphasised their mounting concerns regarding the potential consequences of the DMA.

Why does it matter?

Specifically, the groups worry that the proposed changes may give preferential treatment to powerful online intermediaries, resulting in a loss of visibility and traffic for airlines, hotels, merchants, and restaurants.

Despite Google’s acknowledgement in March that changes to search results may impact various businesses, including those in the European market, the company has not provided immediate comment on the recent concerns raised by these lobbying groups. The European Commission, currently investigating Google for possible DMA breaches, has yet to respond to requests for comment on the matter.