International Journal of Tourism, Travel and Hospitality Law 2023

The new online platform rules and the accommodation booking services Matija Damjan1 1. Introduction. 2. The disruptive effect of online booking services. 2.1. Online travel agents. 2.2 Short-term holiday rental platforms. 3. The proposed new platform rules. 4. Online booking services as digital gatekeepers. 4.1 The definition of digital gatekeepers. 4.2 New obligations of digital gatekeepers. 5. New liability regime for short-term rental services. 6. Conclusion. 7. References. Most online reservations of tourist accommodations are made through online booking platforms, which enable users to compare and choose between the offerings of many accommodation providers in a chosen area. The largest platforms, such as Booking. com and, determine the terms and conditions of the service, influence the price, and manage the payment service, often charging a processing fee. The European Commission has argued that the anti-competitive behaviour of dominant online platforms could lead to inefficient results in the digital sector to the detriment of European consumers. For this reason, it has proposed new ex-ante rules for gatekeeper platforms in the Digital Markets Act. The paper looks at how these new obligations might affect the operation of the leading accommodation booking platforms. Additionally, the new platform liability rules under the Digital Services Act are discussed in terms of exposing short-term rental platforms to liability in cases where their offerings fall foul of the local regulations on the commercial use of residential properties. Keywords: Online platforms, accommodation booking services, Digital Markets Act, Digital Services Act, gatekeepers, liability 1 DOI Assistant Professor at the University of Ljubljana, Faculty of Law, and Secretary General of the Institute for Comparative Law at the Faculty of Law in Ljubljana. Email: The paper is based on research supported by the Slovenian Research Agency under the research programme P5-0337 “Legal challenges of the information society”.