For the past two decades hotels have been dealing with third-party partners such as Expedia, Booking.com, Orbitz, Ctrip or Travelocity in order to get incremental business, room bookings and revenues. Yet the cost of doing business with these online travel agencies (OTA) is deemed high, mainly because of commission levels but also due to advertising costs and loss of the direct relationship with the customer. As hotels seek to regain better profit margins, one of the key identified solutions has been to cut back on commission levels to OTAs by getting more customers to book direct. But effective strategies come at a cost: Sending out regular newsletters, continuous improvement with SEO best practices on the hotel website, heavier investment in Google compaigns, and investment in social media advertising. Another distinctive approach to get clients to book direct has been through hotel loyalty programs - but again that comes at a cost. Get the full story at Frederic Gonzalo