As powerful as OTAs were coming into 2015, David Kong, president and CEO of Best Western Hotels & Resorts, said he was surprised to see OTAs grow even more powerful through the course of the year, particularly through the consolidation of Expedia and Orbitz. “I’m surprised by their power and influence,” Kong said. “And with how fast they’re growing and how much leverage they have.” W. David P. Carey III, president and CEO of Outrigger Hotels and Resorts, said he sees OTAs growing in a way that could be detrimental for the hotel industry. He said the companies’ focus on technology over maintaining and operating individual properties gives them an inherent advantage in the distribution power struggle. “Expedia/Orbitz would like to be a brand, but that’s not good for the people who have brands,” Carey said. “They don’t have to worry about regional guys, inspections. They hire some tech junkies with servers, and they don’t need to worry about it.” Get the full story at Hotel News Now