The NYU International Hospitality Conference in New York City heard from head executives from the world’s largest hotel groups that while they still talk about OTAs with commissions from 15-25% and Airbnb stealing market share, the real threat to the industry lies elsewhere, with Google, Facebook and other digital players who already have a profile for everyone in a hotel industry’s customer base.

Google, Amazon and Facebook have started to ramp up their travel verticals. Google Flights and Google Trips are complemented by existing platforms such as Gmail and Google Calendar; Amazon is already working with hotels including Amazon Echo Dot as in-room voice assistant, and may be looking at an online hotel business; Facebook hired an Expedia veteran to lead global strategy for travel and has launched ‘trip considerations’ to help users decide where to travel.

Hotels believe their strength is guest loyalty, and the face-to-face interactions the digital platforms don’t have.

Read more: