June 05, 2018

Hotels consider tech giants their biggest threat


The issue: the entrance of tech giants into the travel space and their ability as intermediaries to gather and adeptly use so much personal information about customers.

Forget Airbnb and the sharing economy, the hotel industry's biggest nemesis today is tech giants like Google, Facebook and Amazon. That seemed to the consensus Monday during a panel of CEOs at the 40th annual NYU International Hospitality Industry Investment Conference.

"I think we are in an absolute war for who owns the customer, and it's a long-term war," Marriott International CEO Arne Sorenson said. "They are without a doubt trying to take our customers," he said. "They want to own our customers."

To be clear, he said, the hotel industry will be competing with Airbnb for years. But as Hilton CEO Christopher Nassetta noted, the "world is taking care of that" as governments have begun to adopt rules to level the competitive playing field between sharing companies and traditional hospitality companies.

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