By Corris Little, Hotel Business
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NEW YORK — At the risk of stating the obvious, the relationship between hotels and third-party online travel agencies (OTAs) such as Expedia, Priceline and Travelocity is complicated.
Some hotel companies tout the strength of their brands and see OTAs as just another distribution channel, while others see them as a threat to their businesses.
With a rate parity agreement, hoteliers and OTAs can meet on an equal playing field, so to speak: The hotel rates are the same, no matter where the customer goes in search of the best price for his or her stay. However, there are instances when hotels may fall out of parity and the results can be damaging, resulting in customer distrust and a lack of incentive for travelers to book directly with the hotel because the OTAs appear to be offering a better, lower rate.