Hotels get beat up on the web as online travel agencies score deals

Hotels were doing a great job of selling online before the recession hit. But, thanks to a healthy dose of innovation and greed, the global economy has been in rough shape, forcing those still traveling to hunt for deeper discounts and bigger deals. Unsurprisingly, this led to relatively strong market conditions for the online travel agent sector, particularly in the hotel space. For the hotel companies themselves, however, it’s been a bit rough.

According to travel industry research firm PhoCusWright:

The economic downturn has erased prerecession gains for hotel branded websites, as market pressures increase reliance on online travel agencies (OTAs). With occupancy still below 2007 levels and sluggish ADR [average daily rate] growth, OTAs will grow at twice the rate of hotel websites in 2010.

This follows proactive measures by hotels to improve their websites, with noticeable improvements leading to a 59 percent share of the online channel, according to PhoCusWright. Now, the suppliers are looking at a drop in share to 54 percent for 2010, with “similar growth patterns in 2011 and 2012 as hotels gain more control over OTA inventory.”

The battle of the brands, involving travel agents and their suppliers, is being engaged in the hospitality industry as well as the airline sector, it seems.

So, where do you think you’ll find your next hotel deal? Take the poll below to let us know!