PricewaterhouseCoopers’ UK leader for hospitality and leisure, Robert Milburn, has told hotel companies that they need to get a grip on online distribution.

Commenting on the findings of PWC’s latest Hospitality Directions Europe, Milburn said that indicators suggest a period of sustained growth for UK hotel companies. ‘But in the longer term,’ he said, ‘the real winners will be those companies who find a way successfully to embrace the new era of pricing transparency available to the consumer through internet distribution channels.’

Last week PwC’s travel industry Malcolm Preston told a hotel investors conference in Berlin that the distribution strength of US consumer-facing giants such as Cendant was reshaping the distribution map for hoteliers in favour of small independent operators at the expense of the large operators.

In the medium term, PWC thinks that 2006 will be a record year for revPAR in the UK, although ‘a slight weakening of core macro economic drivers’ since autumn has prompted them to revise their expectations to £59.26. The previous edition of Hospitality Directions Europe tipped 06 revPAR to come in at £61.43.