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While it might be a great time to be in the hotel business, the industry still faces some challenges. Dealing with online travel agencies as a distribution channel is one of them, said speakers at a general session titled “Current events with the bosses” at the North America Hotel Investment Conference.
Chip Ohlsson, VP of development at Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, said brands are partly to blame for the industry’s dependence on business generated from OTAs.
“Brands got a little lazy; our market shares eroded and consumers became loyal to segments, not to brands,” he said. “The only way to change that is to use loyalty programs and technology to lure them back and make them loyal to us.”