October 26, 2018

For independent hotels, relationships with OTAs have never been more tense

More trust has been eroded by shady tactics, from breaking parity to basic, uncoupling of package rates being sold independently to members-only rates.

Through an ongoing dialogue with other independents, hoteliers can resist “being bullied into accepting these contracts … and collectively can bargain,” he said. “Expedia is not going to turn off an entire market.”

On a distribution playing field which pits independent hotels against brands and includes sometimes-tense negotiation with online travel agencies, there can be strength in numbers, speakers said on a panel at the Direct Booking Summit this October.

“As independents, it’s important that we talk to one another and have a relationship,” said Gary Hawkins, VP of revenue strategy at Sydell Group, which creates and manages independent and boutique hotels. He called it “a wolf-pack mentality,” because “if we’re out on our own and we get separated from the pack, we’re going to get picked off.”

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