Even as foreign hotel companies devise plans for setting up local websites (starting with gaining ICP license to dealing with server latency and slowing of content delivery to a fitting website design and functionalities), the role of OTAs in distribution can’t be undermined in China. While some have chosen to participate in Ctrip’s Chinese preferred hotel program (CPH) (the count was less than 1000 when we spoke to Ctrip in December), all brands are not keen on joining. Even if the conversion rate can go up by 15% on Ctrip’s platform by complying to the requirements of this program. “Ctrip still prefers buying from third parties even though we have a direct contract. Their reasoning is that they have to compete with the cheaper wholesale rates that are available in the market,” said a senior hotel distribution VP based in Asia. “So, we have not been able to build a very strong direct relationship.” He further added, “We have not been approached by them to make our properties “Preferred”.” Get the full story at ChinaTravelNews