Major hotel brands have recently upped the ante in the fight for direct bookers. Hilton Worldwide, Marriott International, Hyatt Hotels Corp., InterContinental Hotels Group, and Choice Hotels International are among the chains that have incentivized direct booking by lowering rates for loyalty members who book direct. Sloan Dean, VP of revenue optimization for the Ashford Group expects to continue to see offerings tied to company loyalty programs that differentiate the stay experience for guests, countering the OTAs’ offerings. But if one were to ask the OTAs how they feel about this “battle,” they’re not exactly readying their weapons. At least, Expedia isn’t. “This strategy is an interesting one to us, because it appears to us that the battle between the big chains is for a finite, existing pool of loyalty bookers,” says Adam Anderson, managing director of industry relations at Expedia. “This actually puts us outside the battle, as we have a very different customer.” Anderson explains that OTAs like Expedia attract the brand-agnostic traveler. Basically, brands are fighting for customers who will never commit to a monogamous relationship with only one brand. Get the full story at Lodging magazine