Expedia’s Dara Khosrowshahi said the conventional wisdom is “a mischaracterization that this is a war,” while Arne Sorenson of Marriott added, “The tension in the relationship is not really there.” I would argue slightly differently. There is a creative tension between hotels and OTAs. But it’s something we should get comfortable with, because it’s not going away and it’s actually moving hotels in a positive direction. First, as Lodging editors have noted, Expedia has been at the forefront of major OTAs trying to move beyond merely distribution and into more services provided to hotels. Expedia is now helping Red Lion Hotels Corporation grow its rewards program by advertising loyalty rates in its listings on the OTA, and it is helping Marriott sell vacation packages. Elsewhere, Booking.com acts as a white-label booking engine for hotels in certain foreign markets and offers very basic revenue management to independent hotels through its BookingSuite. At the same time, the story of this year has been hoteliers’ efforts to drive direct bookings by publicizing loyalty rates. Ads from Hilton Worldwide, Hyatt Hotels and Marriott have been viewed as a shot across the bow of Expedia and Priceline. The OTAs thus far have said they’re not too worried about direct-booking campaigns’ effect on their bottom lines. Get the full story at Lodging