Hotel Marketing: the hottest topics of 2013

A review of the most read articles in is always an interesting exercise in looking at trends. After all people read what they’re interested in and headlines/titles are the catch phrase that grab one’s interest. Even if an article talks about something entirely different. It’s the headline that tells you what made them click.

In 2011 I published a recap of’s most popular articles, and the summary is quite similar.

Here’s my “analysis” of what’s happening in the hotel marketing space based on the hot topics:

1. Still the most interesting topic for any hotel marketer today is how to shift more bookings from OTAs to direct. While I understand that many hotels have concerns about this, it is odd to see that so many years down the line, it’s still the number one concern. As a note, OTAs are obviously seeing this and starting to invest in different channels such as buying meta-search but they aren’t about to disappear any time soon (and we wouldn’t want them to).

2. Even though hoteliers think they want to reduce their OTA dependency, what happens in the OTA world is on the top of their list. It’s interesting how many articles about Travelocity, Expedia and are on the top of the list. Some even have almost the same title and manage to sit beside each other. The truth is OTAs rule in the hotel booking space and hoteliers want to be in the know.

3. If anything, 2013 is the year rate-parity took a hit. And correctly so. While rate-parity, OTA dependency and OTA success are all closely related, it’s interesting to see how many people want to change something there. Rate-parity is a bit like a drug, we know it’s not helping and yet we can’t get off it.

4. Trends, trends, trends. Hoteliers, like most professions, are interested in what’s next. Lots of articles of the future trends that are shaping the business in the top and it’s a good thing. It’s a good thing that hoteliers and marketers are looking outside to test new waters. Two years ago we had Groupon in the headlines but they’re nowhere to be seen this year. Two new names that appear this year are Pinterest and Airbnb. A new subject that is taking importance is meta-search and that’s definitely a space to watch.

In summary

The hottest topic is and remains OTAs and direct bookings. Which doesn’t change much year over year. OTAs are the makers and breakers of the industry and direct bookings are the high profit channel, so balancing the two will remain a hot topic for a while. What is coming in 2014? In my opinion what is becoming the biggest “disruptor” of the industry is meta-search and meta-search has a long way to go to become a real product because let’s face it, today OTAs are the best meta-search solution, the idea of having 5 or even 15 prices for a single hotel is just confusing to the end user, especially when most of these rates are the same.



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