International Journal of Tourism, Travel and Hospitality Law 2023

MODERNISATION OF INFORMATION REQUIREMENTS FOR CONSUMERS marketplaces, where distance tourist service contracts are entered into, have also changed. On the online market, the impact on consumers’ decisions to purchase specific product or service is also different.24 Access to information on tourism services and the process of making decisions on the selection of a suitable service have also changed. In the process of deciding on a tourism service and in the course of its provision, as well as after it has already been offered, a number of different protagonists take part (users, providers, platform operators, other consumers). Platforms offering tourism services to consumers contain a whole lot of different pieces of information distributed in various ways and in different numbers. The complexity and variety of information may have numerous positive, as well as negative effects on the decision-making process involving tourism services. A large amount of useful information can make it easier for a consumer to make an informed decision on a particular tourism service. However, huge amounts of information, depending on the way they are presented, may also have misleading effects on the decision-making process and may demotivate consumers from being fully informed. Decisions on making contracts on tourism services offered via platforms are made in a much quicker, simpler and cheaper way. Although the price still remains to be the main factor for the selection of a particular service and its provider, the decision is often also based on some factors less represented on the offline market. Indeed, decisions on tourism services are often based on the results of ranking of comparable services created by automatic data processing and by algorithms provided by the platform. Consumers’ reviews also play another important role in selecting a tourism service.25 26 Traditional pre-contractual information via online platforms does not have the same role as is the case on the offline market. A particularly important novelty, because of the development of collaborative economy, is the fact that the role of the provider of tourism 24 See: European Commission: Behavioural study on advertising and marketing practices in travel booking websites and apps, Final report, 2020, (hereinafter: Study, 2020). On various commercial practices adopted by online travel service providers see ibid, p. 36. 25 See: European Commission: Study on online consumer reviews in the hotel sector: final report, European Commission, 2014, p. 124 (hereinafter: Study: 2014). See: European Commission: Behavioural study on the transparency of online platforms, Executive Summary, 2018, p. 5, (hereinafter: Study/Summary/2018). 26 In this regard, some authors emphasise that the rating and the review systems used on online platforms are considered to be a technological solution for the ‘electronic word of mouth’. It is also pointed out that online reviews are an increasingly important source of pre-contractual information and an alternative or complement to complex terms and conditions. See Busch (2016), p. 226; Narciso, M. (2022a), pp. 350, 353-356; Sánches, E,B., Deegan, J., Pérez Ricardo, E.C. (2022) p.134.