The paper – “Impact of OTA Bias and Consolidation on Consumers” – explores the rise of OTA search bias, a problem worsened by increased consolidation in the market. Through a series of transactions, Expedia and Priceline own numerous sites that were previously competitors. In fact, Expedia and Priceline now own 95 percent of the OTA market. The research points out that in this new environment, OTAs are now able to charge hotels exorbitant commission fees – sometimes upwards of 25 percent of the hotel’s revenue. These fees can have a direct impact on how search results are displayed: Hotels who choose to pay less – or simply can’t afford to pay more – are often punished, buried in lower search results, or removed from the site altogether. “Search bias is inherently deceptive and indeed intentionally deceptive,” Edelman writes in his report. “Consumers reasonably expect that the properties featured on OTAs are those that best match their request, and consumers have no reason to expect properties to be sorted or prioritized based on payment.” Get the full story at AHLA and download the paper at Benjamin Edelman (PDF 193 KB)