Open Access Open Access  Restricted Access Subscription or Fee Access

CASE STUDY: Delegated Distribution: Hotels Should Be Warned! An Example from Croatia

Iva Slivar, Uglješa Stankov, Vanja Pavluković


The penetration of online booking among hotels has been growing steadily. In order to maintain its market position, online travel agencies (OTAs) are offering small and medium hotels, mainly to those which have not yet adopted e-commerce, their own booking engines for websites or as apps to be integrated on hotels' platforms. Hotels are persuaded by cuts in commission, no commissions and other privileges. The implications of such a decision are of crucial importance to hotels in the struggle for tourists. This article presents a new classification of tourism e-distribution which includes this phenomenon named “delegate distribution”, a partnership strategy of OTA-s with hoteliers drawing on a study on the expansion of delegated distribution in Croatia. The key advantages and disadvantages are also listed, along with a comparison with direct and indirect forms of distribution in terms of inference upon other marketing mix elements.


small hotels; tourism distribution; online travel agencies; online booking; Croatia

Full Text:



Anderson, C. (2009). The Billboard Effect: Online Travel Agent Impact on Non-OTA Reservation Volume. Center for Hospitality Research Publications. Retrieved from

Anderson, C. (2011). Search, OTAs, and Online Booking: An Expanded Analysis of the Billboard Effect. Center for Hospitality Research Publications. Retrieved from

Avcikurt, C., Altay, H., & Oguzhan Ilban, M. (2011). Critical Success Factors for Small Hotel Businesses in Turkey: An Exploratory Study. Cornell Hospitality Quarterly, 52(2): 153–164.

Buhalis, D., & Law, R. (2008a). Progress in information technology and tourism management: 20 years on and 10 years after the Internet-The state of eTourism research. Tourism Management, 29(4), 609–623.

Buhalis, D., & Law, R. (2008b). Twenty years on and 10 years after the Internet: The state of eTourism research. Tourism Management, 29(4): 609–623.

Carroll, B., & Siguaw, J. (2003). The evolution of electronic distribution: Effects on hotels and intermediaries. The Cornell Hotel and Restaurant Administration Quarterly, 44(4): 38–50.

Chaffey, D., Ellis-Chadwick, F., Mayer, R., & Johnston, K. (2006). Internet Marketing: Strategy, Implementation and Practice. Practice (Vol. 3). Upper Saddle River: Prentice-Hall, Inc.

Cohen, N. (2017). Hotel brand websites, OTAs, Meta search, and Wholesalers: A distribution dilemma within the hotel industry. Boston Hospitality Review, 5 (2), (Accessed February 26, 2018).

Duran, J. (2015). Website, GDS and OTA: the right mix in distribution channel investments - eHotelier. Retrieved from

Euromonitor. (2014). Online Travel Intermediaries: A Fast Changing Competitiive Landscape. Retrieved July 29, 2016, from

Gronflaten, O. (2009). Predicting Travelers’ Choice of Information Sources and Information Channels. Journal of Travel Research, 48(2): 230–244.

Hashim, N. H., Murphy, J., & Law, R. (2007). A Review of Hospitality Website Design Frameworks. In Information and Communication Technologies in Tourism 2007 , Vienna: Springer Vienna., 219–230.

Hotel Analyst. (2015). The Hotel Distribution Report 015.

Institute of tourism Zagreb, Hrvatski turizam u brojkama, n. 4., 2014,

Ivanov, S., Stoilova, E. & Illum, S.F. (2015). Conflicts between accommodation establishments and travel agencies. Tourism and Hospitality Research 15(1):54-70, DOI10.1177/1467358414553870

Jutarnji list (2016): Hotelijeri protiv globalnih Online agencija – rezervira li direktno, gost dobiva pjenušac, wellness ili večeru, (Accessed 27 April, 2019)

Lee, H. A., Denizci Guillet, B., & Law, R. (2013). An Examination of the Relationship between Online Travel Agents and Hotels: A Case Study of Choice Hotels International and Cornell Hospitality Quarterly, 54(1): 95–107.

Leung, D., Lee, H. A., & Law, R. (2011). Adopting Web 2.0 technologies on chain and independent hotel websites: A case study of hotels in Hong Kong. In: Information and Communication Technologies in Tourism 2011. Vienna: Springer Vienna., 229–240.

Lo, A., Cheung, C., & Law, R. (2002). Information search behavior of Hong Kong’s inbound travelers‐a comparison of business and leisure travelers. Journal of Travel & Tourism Marketing, 13(3): 61–81.

Luebke, A. (2017) : Top 5 Essential Tips To Increase Direct Booking, (Accessed 27 April, 2019)

O'Connor, P. (2016) Distribution channel management in hotel chains. in: Ivanova, M, Ivanov, S. & Magnini, V.P. (eds.) (2016). The Rutledge Handbook on Hotel Chain Management, Rutledge, 251-253.

O’Connor, P., & Frew, A. J. (2002). The future of hotel electronic distribution: expert and industry perspectives. The Cornell Hotel and Restaurant Administration Quarterly, 43(3): 33–45.

Ministry of tourism (2018), (accessed: February 26, 2018)

Pilepić, L., Šimunič, M., & Car, To. (2013). Online hotel’s sales strategies with emphases on web booking. Retrieved July 25, 2018 from:

Raiffeisen Bank, RBAnalize, July 2015, (accessed: August 26,2016)

Schmidt, S., Cantallops, A. S., & dos Santos, C. P. (2008). The characteristics of hotel websites and their implications for website effectiveness. International Journal of Hospitality Management, 27(4): 504–516.

Stankov, U., Ćurčić, N., & Dragićević, V. (2010). Assessment of forms and extent of tourism web promotion in Serbia. Journal of the Geographical Institute Jovan Cvijic, SASA, 60(1): 57–68.

Stephens, R. T. (2004). A framework for the identification of electronic commerce design elements that enable trust within the small hotel industry. In Proceedings of the 42nd annual Southeast regional conference on - ACM-SE 42 (p. 309). New York, New York, USA: ACM Press.

Tan, J., & Dwyer, L. (2014). Managing Distribution Channel Conflict in the Hotel Industry.

Thakran, K., & Verma, R. (2013). The Emergence of Hybrid Online Distribution Channels in Travel, Tourism and Hospitality. Cornell Hospitality Quarterly, 54(3): 240–247.

Tom Diek, M.C., Fountoulaki,P., Jung, T.H. (2018). Tourism distribution channels in European island destinations, International Journal of Contemporary Hospitality Management, 30 (1): 326-342,

Toh, R. S., Raven, P., & DeKay, F. (2011). Selling Rooms: Hotels vs. Third-Party Websites. Cornell Hospitality Quarterly, 52(2): 181–189.

Vinod, B. (2009). Distribution and revenue management: Origins and value proposition. Journal of Revenue and Pricing Management, 8(2-3): 117–133.

Werthner, H., & Klein, S. (2010). ICT and the Changing Landscape of Global Tourism Distribution. Springer.

Yeung, T. A., & Law, R. (2004). Extending the modified heuristic usability evaluation technique to chain and independent hotel websites. International Journal of Hospitality Management, 23(3): 307–313.


  • There are currently no refbacks.