The competition for hotel guests is fierce, with rising customer- acquisition costs, price-sensitive travelers, and falling brand loyalty at play. Established online travel agencies (OTAs) and metasearch sites like Expedia, Priceline and Kayak, joined by startups like Hipmunk, gained 10.4% of total hotel bookings in North America’s top 25 markets in 2012, up from 9.5% in 2011. Though hotel websites accounted for a 26.7% market share in 2012, that number rose just a half a percentage point YoY, eMarketer reported. “Hotels are under a lot of pressure these days to own the customer,” says Kelly McGuire, Executive Director of the Hospitality and Travel Global Practice at SAS. “A lot of that is coming from the situational landscape and the power of the OTA like Expedia. Now you’ve got Google in the picture and everyone wants a piece of the puzzle. The distribution costs are growing faster than rates are growing. Get the full story and download the free report at Skift