A recent Cornell Hospitality Quarterly article highlighted a unique natural experiment where an entire city had all its hotel delisted from all online travel agents for more than 4 years. The article provides great background to the delisting and highlights the impacts on hotel revenue and accommodation taxes for the county. The article estimates that even though the hotels relisted at all online travel agents (OTAs), there was a substantial gain to both hotels and accommodation tax collectors during the OTA delisting period. The impact estimates are based solely on the loss of demand realized in neighboring Phenix City, AL, once Columbus is relisted at OTAs. In the following, we highlight some concerns with these estimates and indicate that the losses may in fact be quite substantive and perhaps more indicative of why Columbus hotels relisted at the OTAs.
Anderson, C. K., & Han, S. (2018). Living without OTAs—Goodbye Columbus: Putting the jenie back in the bottle. Cornell Hospitality Quarterly, 59(1), 67-69. doi: 10.1177/1938965517735907