4 local hotels exchanged commercially sensitive information in 2014 and 2015: Consumer watchdog

The Competition and Consumer Commission of Singapore identified the four hotels as (clockwise from top left) Capri by Fraser Changi City Singapore, Village Hotel Changi, Village Hotel Katong and Crowne Plaza Changi Airport Hotel.
The Competition and Consumer Commission of Singapore identified the four hotels as (clockwise from top left) Capri by Fraser Changi City Singapore, Village Hotel Changi, Village Hotel Katong and Crowne Plaza Changi Airport Hotel. PHOTOS: THE BUSINESS TIMES, BERITA HARIAN, SCREENGRAB FROM BEST SINGAPORE HOTEL.NET, ST FILE

SINGAPORE - The Competition and Consumer Commission of Singapore (CCCS) has found that owners and operators of four hotels have exchanged commercially sensitive information.

In a statement on Thursday (Aug 2), CCCS identified the four hotels as Capri by Fraser Changi City Singapore, Village Hotel Changi, Village Hotel Katong and Crowne Plaza Changi Airport Hotel.

A proposed infringement decision, in the form of a written statement, was issued to the owners and operators of the hotels.

They discussed and exchanged confidential, customer-specific, commercially sensitive information in connection with the provision of hotel rooms to corporate customers, CCCS said.

The proposed infringement decision details the facts used by CCCS in its investigations into the four hotels.

CCCS said that the information shared between the staff of the four competing hotels included non-public bid prices in response to corporate customer requests.

The hotels also shared the 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," said the statement.

Exchanging commercially sensitive information infringes the Competition Act.

The investigation conducted by CCCS was triggered by its own detection efforts.

Investigations revealed two key findings.

First, staff of Capri, Village Hotel Changi and Village Hotel Katong discussed and exchanged commercially sensitive information in connection with the provision of hotel rooms to corporate customers from at least July 3, 2014 to June 30, 2015.

Second, staff of Capri and Crowne Plaza Changi Airport hotels separately discussed and exchanged commercially sensitive information in connection with the provision of hotel rooms to corporate customers from at least Jan 14, 2014 to June 30, 2015.

All involved parties have six weeks from Thursday to make their representations to CCCS before a final decision is made.

If found guilty, they can be fined up to 10 per cent of their business turnover for each year of infringement, up to a maximum of three years.

Frasers Hospitality, which runs the Capri by Fraser Changi City Singapore, said: “We do not condone any of our employees engaging in such conduct and we take such matters seriously.”

It added that it will study the PID and respond to the CCCS.

A spokesman for Crowne Plaza Changi said the hotel was unable to comment as an investigation is underway.

On Friday, Far East Hospitality, which manages both Village hotels, said it “has extended and will continue to extend its fullest cooperation to CCCS in the investigations”.

The company added that it takes legal compliance very seriously, and takes various steps to review and implement rigorous compliance and training programmes.