Tomorrow's Hospitality A-Z – Navigating the future

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The role of online travel agents (OTAs) has become increasingly important within the hospitality industry. A growing number of customers are turning to OTAs as a one-stop shop to search for and book hotels online. According to a study by the EU stakeholder organization HOTREC, the market share of online intermediaries (OTAs and global distribution systems) for hotel bookings in Europe increased from 21.8 percent in 2013 to 28.7 percent in 2021.

In light of OTAs’ significant market reach and global footprint, the dependency of hotels on OTAs remains very high. At the same time, OTA commissions are one of the largest cost factors for hotels.

In 2020, the European Commission found that 46 percent of business users experienced problems with online intermediation services throughout their business relationship. One out of five businesses often experienced problems, while heavy business users, i.e., businesses generating more than 50 percent of their turnover via online platforms, were even more likely to experience problems. 

Key takeaways
  • The importance of online platforms, including online travel agents, has increased significantly.
  • The EU has modernized the legal framework for online travel agents, seeking to balance relations between platform giants and business users.
  • Rules to govern short-term accommodation rentals are in the offering, perhaps in the form of harmonized EU legislation.
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