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Google was forced to pay $ 1 million for misleading French hotel rankings

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France’s Directorate General of Competition, Consumption and Fraud Control (DGCCRF) has launched a survey of Google’s hotel rankings to monitor the fairness and nature of information and has fined € 1.1 million.

The survey began in 2019 and continued until 2020 after French hoteliers complained about the Star of the Giants system.

7,500 facilities were monitored before Google was fined for displaying a “misleading” ranking.

Misleading

Google’s algorithm includes information from other hotel websites and Atout France star ratings, ranking hotel sites from 1 to 5 stars on Google Maps and its search engines. I will.

Atout France is the only official ranking system in the country. Therefore, when Google replaced it with the same star rating system based on its own criteria, the DGCCRF considered it misleading.

A translated version of the official report from DGCCRG states:

“This practice was particularly damaging to consumers and misunderstood the level of service we could expect when booking accommodation, and was mistakenly stated to be lower in rank than the official classification of Atout France. It was also harmful to the hotel owner. “

Google changed their practice

Google Ireland Ltd and Google France, which were the subject of the survey, revised their practices in 2019. The results currently show only the star rating specified by Atout France.

Despite the change, the Paris Public Prosecutor’s Office has agreed to impose a fine of € 1.1 million for Google to pay.

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Modern history of Google services for hotel owners

Google has generally improved its services for hoteliers over the past three years.

In February 2018, Google added the ability to book hotels directly on SERP.

In August, Google began rating hotels based on local amenities, transportation, and proximity to the airport. Later that month, tech giants also included price insights in their search results.

In October, we brought in a desktop experience that was redesigned specifically for hotel search.

In 2019, Google allowed hoteliers to customize the amenities available in Google My Business. It is unclear if this corresponded to the investigation in France.

In March, Google used machine learning to show that the percentage of hotel searchers was much lower than usual.

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The latest hotel-specific update was in August 2020, and Google’s travel portal contained pandemic-related information.

Google has agreed to pay the fine and is willing to update the service to ensure the relevance, accuracy and accessibility of the service as much as possible.

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