Meliá Hotels International, S.A. (“Meliá”), registered in Spain, owns, manages and leases hotels, and franchises its brands, in 35 different countries, making it one of the largest hotel companies in the world. As is typical in the hotel industry, Meliá uses a dual distribution model to provide hotel accommodation to consumers. Meliá sells accommodation directly to consumers via its website and call center, as well as at the front desks of its hotels. Meliá also sells hotel rooms through travel and accommodation companies who act as intermediaries between Meliá and consumers. This case concerns provisions in over 2,000 agreements with such intermediaries, around 30% of the totality of such agreements concluded my Meliá. The agreements contained provisions limiting their scope and validity to certain specified markets, in each instance including at least one country in the European Economic Area (“EEA”). If reservations were made by nationals of different countries (such as nationals of the EU or EEA member states not included in the relevant agreement), Meliá reserved the right to reject such reservations. The agreements restricted the intermediaries’ ability to both actively and passively sell hotel accommodation to nationals of EU or EEA member states other than those specified in the relevant agreement. These are restrictions by object and prohibited, and a fine of EUR 6,678,000.00 was applied.
Martine de Koning
Advocaat / Partner Kennedy Van der Laan
Netherlands Commercial Court (NCC)