Travel agency group hits back at European hotels over distribution criticismNews / Distribution | OnlineBy Kevin May | July 27, 2016Share This article was originally published on European hotels should consider the effort that online travel agencies put into the marketplace before rubbishing the system.That's the strong response from the European Technology and Travel Services Association (ETTSA) following the release of a report from HOTREC this week that highlighted an apparent duopoly held in the marketplace by Expedia and Booking.com.ETTSA, which counts Expedia Inc brands Expedia, Hotels.com and Venere amongst its members (but not any Priceline Group-owned sites), says hoteliers will "evidently claim that their distribution is too expensive, but these claims should not be used as a basis for assessing the effectiveness of the introduction of narrow rate parity".HOTREC members, in its survey, say that they haven't seen any increase in competition or any change to commission levels as a result of narrow parity clauses in the last 12 months.Still, at ETTSA official hints that hotels should see the bigger picture. "Distribution doesn't come free - online travel agents undertake massive investments in marketing and technology innovation as well as customer support services to attract global customers on behalf of the hotels that are listed. "Listing is free, and the commission the hotelier pays when an actual transaction is made is a cost-effective way to remunerate the online travel agent for the investments made."Share this quote Furthermore, hotels are free to set prices and availability across any indirect distribution channel as there are now "no further structural obstacles to competition on the levels of commission".The official says "concerns should be addressed under competition rules and not with legislation", adding: "The introduction of narrow rate parity has, both by independent econometric research as well as by most European Competition Authorities, been considered the best solution to achieve healthy price competition in the indirect hotel distribution market while also addressing free riding by hoteliers."Share this quote Other OTA members of ETTSA include eDreams Odigeo, Travelink, eBookers, alongside all three leading GDSs.