The announcement today that narrow rate parity clauses would be rolled out across the EU does little to free up the hotel booking market for competition.
Narrow rate parity prevents hotels from offering a lower public room rate on their own website than the rate given to the online travel agent to sell the room. Rate parity therefore removes the most competitive element of hotel room sales, the ability to offer lower price or more valuable packages. The result is less competition for customers.
Narrow rate parity does little to return freedom to the market. We all benefit from an open market, especially customers who will see lower prices and greater innovation if fairness is restored to the online hotel booking market. We all want the same thing: a competitive and innovative market for hospitality and tourism, narrow rate parity misses the mark in aiding that goal.