Once again, 2015 was the year of the online travel agencies. Hotel owners now have to maintain a careful relationship with these distribution systems because, if managed by the wrong hands, it can be detrimental. It is obvious that the OTA relationship is for the long term, so knowing which “partner” to work with, and how to be mutually beneficial requires a savvy skill set. Although the turbulent hotel-OTA relationship is fraught with continuous discussion of commission, we also recognize that OTAs can boost our sales and provide insights to our hotels. At the end of the day, it is a give-and-take relationship that, when developed prudently, can be extremely gratifying. Oh yes, and the rate-parity issue will be on our minds as we kick off 2016, too. And, like the OTAs, Airbnb is here to stay. Rather than paying out the required commission, hoteliers have yet another alternative competitive player in the arena. Depending on the market, Airbnb has adversely affected strong occupancy levels and will likely put more pressure on our marketing efforts. We are clearly now in a shared economy. Hotel brands that choose to ignore Airbnb will put themselves at risk. Instead, we have to take advantage of the opportunities and focus on our unique selling propositions: guest loyalty, brand presence, multiple facilities and safe, regulated infrastructure—all of which will be difficult for Airbnb to replicate. Get the full story at Hotel News Now