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I've seen that happening a few times in the United States and it seems to be the norm rather than the exception: I go to a hotel with no reservations, I show some booking price that can be obtained via some travel agency, and the hotel is uninterested in matching the price. I would have guessed that if I directly pay the hotel, the hotel would receive more money than if I go through some travel agency (assuming I pay the same price), and as a result, the hotel would be interested in matching the price to avoid some of my money going to the travel agency. Why do most hotels in the US refuse to match travel agency prices?

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I'll summarize the answers the question received in the comment section: 1) The agency may have bought and paid rooms in advance, and they may be selling at a loss any last minute unsold inventory 2) There may be an agreement that the hotel won't undercut (compete with) the agency.


Comments:

  • In some cases the OTA or some other intermediary has actually bought and paid rooms in advance, and they may be selling at a loss any last minute unsold inventory. Selling for less than you bought is better than getting 0 for something you bought. And their contract with the hotel may prevent the latter to align to those prices.   jcaron 13 hours ago
  • Another reason could be the volume of sales that the agency can drive, together with an agreement that the hotel won't undercut (compete with) them. Weather Vane 1 hour ago
  • The [hotel] may not be able to offer better prices. Travel agencies may limit the offer an hotel can make. It is on the contract, and you should accept, or you will not be on top of the list. In Europe it was decided that such clause is illegal (but we had it). Note: it depends also on where you ask. Reception personal may not be able to modify prices. Email to sale department may get better deals. Giacomo Catenazzi 11 hours ago

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