OTAs undoubtedly make good marketing partners for hotels, during need periods and as a means to acquire new customers. Expedia and Priceline are now pitching themselves as data partners, inviting hotels to leverage the millions of data points from listed rates, transactions, and competitor rate shops that occur on their sites every day. Expedia executives have said publicly that the site sees more than 2 billion price and availability changes every day. However, the big caveat hoteliers must consider is that Expedia and Priceline do not have access to the real-time data hoteliers store in their own systems. Without a connection to the hotel PMS, they don’t get the inventory and CRM information needed to make the best pricing and promotion decisions. When it comes to data, hoteliers make better decisions with depth, not just breadth. OTA-sourced reservations and rate shops produce very basic rate recommendations. To them, a market is “compressed” simply when the OTA receives less inventory than usual from its hotel partners. They can scrape thousands of competitor rates, yet if that’s a hotel’s sole basis for yielding its own prices, it is still largely just following the market. Get the full story at Lodging