Negotiations going in between the European Commission and OTAs such as Booking.com are reported to be causing them to scrap practices preventing hotels from giving discounts to rivals, although so far it appears that they can have clauses preventing them from offering lower rates at their own proprietary websites. These new playing rules might eventually migrate to the United States and other markets. In the meantime, even hoteliers who have signed OTA agreements not to offer lower rates directly have found workarounds by offering different terms and/or different rate options. For example, many have offered online options with different terms at their websites, such as Advance Purchase rate options— although this practice might be restricted by some OTA agreements. Others have offered rate options that are only slightly higher but include breakfast, parking, Internet fees and/or hotel fees. Simultaneous to all of these changes, many consumers are returning to the practice of calling the hotel directly in an effort to negotiate. Perhaps having been “trained” over time by airline models, consumers understand all too well that the rates paid for the same room vary according to how and when it was booked. Frontline reservations and front-desk agents tell me they often hear guests trying to negotiate, and that many even throw out their own rate as if playing “Let’s Make A Deal!” Some even say, “If you don’t sell it to me for what I’m offering, it will go empty and you won’t make anything.” Get the full story at Hotel News Now