Hotel consolidations in recent years have increased those businesses’ ability to negotiate lower commission rates from agencies such as Norwalk-based Priceline and Expedia, according to Colin Mansfield, associate director at Fitch Ratings. When Marriott International Inc. completed its acquisition of Stamford-based Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide Inc. in September, it created a hotel chain with more than 5,800 properties in more than 100 countries. “They have more bargaining power to negotiate because they own more hotels,” said Mansfield, a 2009 University of Connecticut graduate. Smaller and independent hotel operators can be charged higher commission rates because “they need (OTAs) more to drive traffic to their properties.” Get the full story at Darien News