Hotels had to reckon with Expedia before it acquired Travelocity and proposed the same for Orbitz. If it's able to enhance its negotiating power, Expedia could reinforce the notion that online travel agencies offer lower lodging rates than traditional managed travel sources.

In a Feb. 13 research note, Oppenheimer analyst Manish Hemrajani wrote that Expedia's "Hulk-esque proportions in the U.S. travel landscape" make it an "indispensable" channel with "immense clout in rate negotiations with . . .

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