Expedia-Orbitz Merger Would Short Sheet Consumers, Hotel Group Says

Expedia-Orbitz Merger Would Short Sheet Consumers, Hotel Group Says
News from WRCB-TV:

by ASSOCIATED PRESS

NEW YORK — The hotel industry is objecting the proposed combination of travel booking sites Expedia and Orbitz, saying that the deal would mean higher prices for vacationers and larger fees for hotel owners.

“We believe this transaction and the resulting consolidation of the online travel marketplace will result in significant negative consequences, particularly for consumers, but also for the large number of our members who are small business owners and franchised properties,” Katherine Lugar, CEO of the American Hotel & Lodging Association, said in a statement Thursday.

The hotel trade group said the deal would “severely reduce consumer choice.” It also noted that Expedia charges hotels, on average, 11 percent higher commissions than Orbitz.

Many smaller, independent hotels rely on these sites to attract travelers who otherwise would not have heard of their properties.

If the merger goes through Expedia and competitor The Priceline Group Inc. will control 95 percent of the online travel agency bookings in the U.S., according to the hotel trade group. Priceline owns sites such as Booking.com and Kayak.

Expedia agreed to buy Orbitz for $ 1.3 billion in February and more than 99 percent of Orbitz shareholders approved the sal…………… continues on WRCB-TV

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Related News:

Fake Hotel Booking Sites Stirring Up Turmoil for Travelers
News from NBCNews.com:

Aerial view of the Las Vegas boulevard, the Strip, in Las Vegas, Nevada on June 10, 2011. GABRIEL BOUYS / AFP – Getty Images, file

“We’ve had complaints from people who booked with these sites and had trouble canceling or modifying these reservations or they were charged booking fees that they didn’t expect,” said FTC attorney Serena Viswanathan. “And some of these are scams where they don’t even have rooms.”

This is not a new problem. But it’s getting renewed attention after Sen. Charles Grassley, R-Iowa, chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee,

wrote a letter to the FTC in May asking it to investigate. This was followed by a similar request last month from

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