Representatives from the hotel industry, an online travel agency and Google sat together to discuss the rapidly evolving hotel room distribution landscape during a panel last week at the International Hotel Investment Forum.

All agreed consumers are changing the way they book hotel rooms and that, as an increasing number of travelers move their searches online, the three parties are focused on getting larger pieces of the pie.

“We are not naïve enough to think that people will only come to a direct site,” said Chuck Sullivan, senior VP of global online services for Hilton Worldwide. “We know that consumers are going be looking around. Consumers are not monogamous today; they tend to sleep around a little bit.”

Dave Pavelko worked in the hotel industry overseeing distribution for major brands before becoming head of Google Travel. He said the distribution landscape has been changing since the turn of the century, but today it is headed to the next level.

“I feel like this time it’s going to go a little deeper,” he said. “There’s obviously a cost element to it, but there’s also a control element to it as it relates to the customer and the ability to communicate with that customer directly. A lot of the public stuff is really around price and cost, but in the end - with that being equal and the different groups able to come to terms on what those deals are - it also comes back to customer control and the ability to communicate with that customer and have that ongoing relationship with that customer.”

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