The International Herald Tribune reports that 6 of the most prestigious hotels in Paris were fined by the French NCA for illegally exchanging sensible information. The NCA considered that the agreement pushed the price of hotel rooms to more than €700/night. The hotels (Crillon, Georges V, Plaza Athénée, Ritz, Meurice and Le Bristol) were fined €709.000.
What is funny in that case is that it is an uncommon example of horizontal price-related agreement. The luxury hotel sector does not demonstrate the classic features of an industry where sellers need to enter into horizontal practices to bring prices up: luxury hotel room services are far from homogeneous and customers are largely unsensitive to price. In addition, uncovering anticompetitive behavior in sectors where services are - under competitive circumstances - already priced at a very high level is generally a daunting task. To read more on the case, see here.