Dutch judge rules that Booking.com is not a travel agency

Simferopol, Russia - April 13, 2014: Booking.com the system online hotel reservations. Is founded in Amsterdam in 1996.

A Dutch judge has ruled that online hotel booking site Booking.com is not a travel agency and therefore is not compelled to join industry pension provider Reiswerk Pensioenen, the Volkskrant reported on Wednesday.

Reiswerk has been working strenuously since 2014 to force Booking.com to join its pension scheme. It brought the case to court to enforce this arguing that the company books trips.

But Booking.com regards itself only as an online marketing platform which enables travellers to find and book hotels. The judge agreed. ‘The website of Booking.com is nothing more than an enormous collection of advertisements in digital form,’ he said. In this way, he said, it is comparable to the printer of an old-fashioned travel guide.

The judge’s ruling has saved Booking.com a lot of money. Reiswerk had asked that Booking.com be forced to join its pension scheme retroactive to 1999, paying a 20% premium over all salaries paid out since that time.

It is not known exactly how much money this involves but Booking.com now employs 2,800 people in Amsterdam.

Booking.com was not available for comment, the Volkskrant said.

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