“The merger means less competition, and that is never a good thing for consumers,” said Katherine Lugar, chief executive of the American Hotel & Lodging Association, the industry’s main trade group. She said hotels on average pay commissions about 11% higher to Expedia than to Orbitz, and if the merger goes ahead, “those Orbitz rates would likely rise to Expedia’s levels.” A spokeswoman for Expedia said the company has no plans to raise its hotel commissions if the deal is approved. The company has said consumers have several booking options beyond online travel agents, including traditional travel agents, wholesalers and the hotel websites themselves. Online travel agents account for approximately 17% of U.S. hotel bookings, according to Phocuswright, the research firm that conducted the market-share study. “In the grand scheme of things, we’re only a small player,” Expedia CEO Dara Khorowshahi said on a conference call earlier this year when announcing the Orbitz deal. Get the full story at The Wall Street Journal and the Consumerist