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Theses

Competition in the digital era : evidence from the hotel industry

Abstract : The growing digitalization of the economy has been disrupting the sellers distribution channels and has been favoring the emergence of new players: intermediation platforms. Meanwhile the traditional resale model gives way to an agency model and creates fertile ground for different cases of vertical restraints. The increasing digitalization of markets therefore pushes competition authorities to question and adapt their economic analysis of practices. This thesis focuses on the hotel industry which has been the subject of several specific cases, especially in Europe. Contractual practices such as price parity clauses imposed by online travel agencies to hotels have been the subject of numerous investigations. The first chapter of this thesis develops a model of structural demand estimation, allowing to assess the degree of substitution between the online distribution channels of a hotel chain, a crucial element in the market definition. Following the various competition cases, price parity clauses were partially or completely prohibited in several countries. In response, the platforms have developed new programs offering hotels an increased visibility in exchange of the voluntary compliance of price parity clauses. The second chapter of this thesis studies the effect of the adoption of this program on the prices set by the hotels separating the effects linked to the demand increase, thanks to visibility gains, from those linked to the clause compliance and fee increase linked to the program. This thesis also deals with the link between online travel agencies and another type of platforms: price comparison websites. The latter promise consumers the display of the most competitive offers on the market but the criteria used in the ranking algorithms are now debated. Moreover, their vertical integration into larger groups, which also have online travel agencies, raises questions about their impartiality. The third chapter studies the impact of the integration of Kayak and several online travel agencies (such as Booking.com) within the Booking Holding group on the ranking of hotels and sales channels displayed on the price comparison website.
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Morgane Cure. Competition in the digital era : evidence from the hotel industry. Economics and Finance. Institut Polytechnique de Paris, 2020. English. ⟨NNT : 2020IPPAG013⟩. ⟨tel-03103893⟩

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