August 26, 2016 softens rate parity policy in Australia has made major concessions to its controversial rate parity policy in Australia following negotiations with the Australian Competition and Consumer Authority but will still not allow hoteliers to offer cheaper rates on their own websites.

In an email this week, CEO Gillian Tans advised Australian hoteliers that from September 1 the world's largest online travel agent (OTA) will allow hoteliers and accommodation operators to offer whatever rates they like through other channels without retribution.

This includes arch-rival Expedia, which is locked in discussions with the ACCC, and other online travel agents.

It's an extension of the policy has adopted in Europe, where the anti-competitive nature of rate parity - ie contractually obligating operators to charge the same room rates across all distribution channels - has been under pressure from government competition watchdogs, particularly in France and Germany.

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