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Source: Village Hotel Changi Website.

CCCS issues Proposed Infringement Decision against the exchange of commercially sensitive information between hotels

According to the Competition and Consumer Commission of Singapore (CCCS), sales representatives of four hotels in the country are said to have exchanged commercially sensitive information.

The watchdog has issued a Proposed Infringement Decision (PID) on Friday (3 August) against the owners/operators of
Capri by Fraser Changi City Singapore, Village Hotel Changi and Village Hotel Katong (collectively referred to as the "Village Hotels"), and Crowne Plaza Hotels.

The PID were issued for infringing section 34 of the Competition Act (Cap. 50B) (the Act) by entering into agreement(s) and/or concerted practice(s) to discuss and exchange confidential, customer-specific, commercially sensitive information in connection with the provision of hotel room accommodation in Singapore to corporate customers.

In a press release, CCCS stated that the information shared between the sales representatives of competing hotels included non-public bid prices in response to corporate customer requests, as well as percentages of price reduction which customers asked for and the corresponding responses by each hotel sales representative during confidential price negotiations.

The exchange of such commercially sensitive information would reduce the competitive pressure on prices/contract terms offered by competing hotels to their corporate customers," it added.

The watchdog said that it commenced an investigation into the hotel sector which was triggered based on its own detection efforts.

It stated that he investigation revealed that sales representatives of Capri and Village Hotels discussed and exchanged commercially sensitive information in connection with the provision of hotel room accommodation in Singapore to corporate customers from at least 3 July 2014 to 30 June 2015 (the Capri-Village Conduct).

Meanwhile, the sales representatives of Capri and Crowne Plaza hotels separately discussed and exchanged commercially sensitive information in connection with the provision of hotel room accommodation in Singapore to corporate customers from at least 14 January 2014 to 30 June 2015 (the Capri-Crowne Plaza Conduct).

CCCS stated that the parties (including those who applied for lenient treatment under CCCS’s Leniency Programme) have six weeks from the receipt of the PID to make their representations to CCCS.

The watchdog noted that it will then make its decision, after careful consideration of the representations, as well as all available information and evidence.