This is a high stakes game and at risk is the very existence of many of these firms. The OTAs have voiced their opposition to direct bookings efforts on a regular basis. However, lately the comments coming from OTAs have become more acerbic. Expedia's CEO Dara Khosrowshahi mentioned in the first quarter earnings on April 28th hotel chains that "play well with us" will be able to build great relationship whereas others will end up losing market share and audience. This is as direct a message as can be. Expedia already is testing a business model where it will be linking users on Expedia to hotel websites directly to help hotels build loyalty. This effort is an attempt to reduce the impact of direct bookings channel by the hotel brands. Both the big brands as well as OTAs have several levers which they can use to gain better terms from the other side. The top five brands have over half a million keys under each of them. They also represent an overwhelming percentage of rooms in the development pipeline. For example, IHG booked close to 200 million room nights in the last year compared to Expedia which booked 52.8 million room nights in Q4 2015. On the other hand OTAs are at an advantage in terms of marketing reach. None of the major brands would like to build a similar infrastructure with heavy investments which Expedia and Priceline have built over the past decade and half. Get the full story at SeekingAlpha