Solid industry fundamentals have allowed many lodging brand owners to negotiate more favorable commission rates and contract terms, and hotel brand consolidation will perpetuate this trend. However, OTAs have several avenues available to offset the latest round of the long-standing trend of commission rate pressure. The scale and breadth of their bookings platforms will continue to make OTAs a relevant and valuable hotel-distribution partner, especially for higher margin independent hoteliers who may not already have the loyalty base or marketing budgets of the larger chains. Fitch expects more hotel M&A (and related potential bondholder event risk) during the one- to two-year Rating Outlook horizon as scale increasingly demarcates lodging company success. Larger brand owners, such as Marriott International and Hilton Worldwide can negotiate more favorable OTA contract terms, including lower commission rates and no last room availability and price parity clauses. These are attractive benefits for current and potential franchisees that should result in outsized unit growth. Get the full story at Yahoo! Finance