Dark Arts: Why some OTAs fool hotels with fake prices

Tnooz speaks with Roman Peskin, VP of Travel & Hospitality at DataArt, about rates scraping malgorithms and counter-intelligent efforts in the sector.

“It’s well known that major hotel chains routinely check the rates being offered for their properties through online travel agencies (OTAs). The information helps hotels decide which rates to set on their own branded websites. What’s less well known is how and why some OTAs feed hotels false rates. OTAs use rate-scanning bots to “identify the rate spy software and feed it false information, to manipulate the rival’s decision-making without busting it openly,” said Roman Peskin, vice president of hospitality consulting at custom software shop DataArt. An OTA knows that if it catches a bot scraping its rates and stops it from scraping, the “other side” will know that it has been caught, said Peskin. The other side might make efforts to enhance and cloak the scraping bot to elude detection. Feeding a mix of false and true rates is more effective.”

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