Arabian Hotel Investment Conference

April 2020 | United Arab Emirates

Content Library

Understanding the role of OTAs and how they might evolve

Posted on February 04, 2018

We sat down with Filippo Sona, Director, Head of Hotels, (MENA Region), Colliers International to get his views OTAs and rate parity. He summarises the situation as:

“I think, first of all, rate parity is complete nonsense. It is a very old fashioned and obsolete principle… that is actually damaging both the hotel companies and the OTA’s.”

In the final, and most challenging, of the subjects discussed, Filippo addresses the future of OTA’s, starting with a direct aim at rate parity. In the example he shares, he argues that if rate flexibility already exists with hotels, it should exist with commissions handed to OTA’s.

Focusing on the fact that OTA’s own the “process” rather than the “output”, Filippo suggests that increasing OTA commissions in instances where the average room rate is driven up, is a win-win for both parties, offering a chance to even double revenue for the OTA’s.

He also believes that OTA’s are not totally free from threats in the wider travel and tourism ecosystem. With regulators now taking notice of services across the board, from AirBnB to general booking sites, Filippo suggests there may be a trend line leading to more involvement and transparency with Government organisations.

See more of Filippo's videos in our content library.


Filippo Sona is one of the most recognisable names in the international hotel investment community. With 20 years’ experience working for international hotel companies and consultancies in UK, USA, Middle East and North Africa, Filippo specializes in destination and hotel development for mixed uses and stand alone projects, market & financial feasibility study, operator selection and strategic asset management. He is a trusted voice on the AHIC advisory board known for his firm and frank views that often capture headlines across industry press.