Originally highly fragmented, the OTA marketplace for hotels has consolidated through mergers and acquisitions. Now, according to a recent report, two big OTA corporations, both with multiple brands, control much of the hotel booking space: Priceline, with its subsidiary Booking.com, controls 62 percent of the European market, and Expedia, which includes Hotwire and Travelocity, controls 70 percent of the U.S. market. Both have also acquired metasearch websites that find prices, but don't make actual sales and instead link to OTA or hotel websites With that sort of dominance, both are in a position to make life difficult for smaller competitors. They can squeeze hotels for bigger commissions and force them to abandon "price parity" arrangements guaranteeing all comers access to the same pricing. In theory, they could "consolidate" hotel rooms and offer rates even lower than a hotel's advertised rates, although I haven't observed much of that, yet. Hotels are fighting back with incentives for you to book through their own channels, including limiting "free" Wi-Fi to travelers who book through their own sites, discounted packages and other promotions. They're also offering special deals to members of their loyalty programs. And neither metasearch sites nor OTAs pick up on these deals at all. Get the full story at the Chicago Tribune