The Bureau’s investigation focused on markets related to the supply of essential software for managing and distributing all-inclusive travel packages in Canada. It also investigated allegations that restrictive terms in Softvoyage’s contracts with tour operators and travel agencies harmed competition and innovation by excluding rivals.
The Bureau’s findings were informed by interviews and documents provided voluntarily by Softvoyage and a number of other market participants, including travel agencies, tour operators, industry associations, and Softvoyage’s former and potential competitors.
As part of the agreement, Softvoyage will not enforce several types of exclusionary and restrictive contract terms that increased barriers to entry in the industry.
The consent agreement is registered with the Competition Tribunal and has the force of a court order.
The Bureau expects that this resolution will open the door to enhanced competition in the industry, resulting in greater innovation for Canadian travellers.
The Commissioner of Competition, John Pecman said: “We commend Softvoyage for its collaboration in resolving our concerns. We believe that today’s agreement will promote greater competition and innovation in the travel industry, resulting in better choices for Canadian travellers.”
Following the Competition Bureau’s release of the agreement, Softvoyage said in a statement that:
“Since 1987, Softvoyage has been developing and marketing various software solutions for travel industry stakeholders in Canada and the world. Since Softvoyage has a dominant position with some of its products, Softvoyage has collaborated with the Bureau to address the concerns of the latter.”
The company continued: “The Bureau and Softvoyage have therefore reached an agreement in which Softvoyage has undertaken to modify certain clauses of its contracts in the coming months in order to remove any ambiguity that could have harm competition. In addition, Softvoyage is committed to putting in place processes to ensure that Softvoyage’s business model will continue to respect the laws of competition. Among these processes, a corporate compliance program whose objective is to educate and sensitize its employees to the provisions of the law will be set up within Softvoyage in 2018.”
And Softvoyage concluded: “For the last 30 years, there has been virtually no competition for IT solutions for vacation packages in Canada, which has never stopped us from continuing to develop state of the art technology and give the best service to the thousands of stakeholders using our systems daily This agreement with the Competition Bureau pushes us to be better and makes us aware of our position and our role.”
To read the full agreement, simply click here.