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In a keynote address at the 2010 Cornell Hospitality Research Summit, STR co-founder Randell Smith highlighted the hotel industry’s distribution dilemma. On one hand, the online travel agents (OTAs) have provided a critical outlet for rooms that otherwise might go unsold, particularly in the recent recession. On the other hand, the OTAs are heavily focused on price transparency, raising a concern that the hotel industry would lose its pricing power. Smith’s comments came against the background of gradual recovery from the recession, but the hotel industry continues to feel the effects of economic malaise. At the depth of that recession, it seemed that almost any business was welcome at almost any price.


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