The big distribution shake up

• The phoney war is over. Airbnb has just sent a shot across the bows of its competitors that will echo long and loud in the hospitality industry. And it’s not the hotels themselves who will be most worried about the repercussions – it will be the OTAs.

Airbnb’s decision to allow third-party distributors to list hotel inventory on its platform, at a cost of between three and five per cent, is going to shake up the OTA market massively. Sites which currently charge anywhere between 12 and 30 per cent are going to have to restructure their pricing or lose business.

And while OTAs are trying to attract loyalty to their own sites rather than to individual hotel brands, in my opinion there isn’t a single one with the brand pull of Airbnb. None of them have become a verb for booking accommodation.

The hotel distribution landscape just got a whole lot more interesting.

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