Are Timeshare Resorts, Hotels, and Airlines Falling Out of Love with OTAs?

Will timeshare resorts follow the path of Frontier Airlines?
Will timeshare resorts follow the path of Frontier Airlines?

Online Travel Agencies (OTAs) are the go-to choice for most people who travel regularly and book flights, car rentals, and accommodations at hotels or timeshare resorts. But as brands find it increasingly more difficult to comply with the terms of the OTAs, we can probably expect to see more and more of them following in the steps of Frontier Airlines.

Frontier Airlines has announced that, effective immediately, its schedules and fares will no longer be available on Expedia. In a media announcement released this week, Daniel Shurz, Frontier’s senior vice president, commercial, says, “Booking Frontier travel at remains the best choice as it’s the only place where you’re guaranteed an advanced seat assignment, you’ll earn more EarlyReturns miles, and you enjoy more choice in your overall travel experience. Customers can still find our low fares on other travel sites such as Travelocity, Orbitz, and Priceline, but will get the best value with Frontier when they book directly at”

Lover’s quarrel or total split?

Hard to say at this point whether the two entities will reconcile, but Frontier’s actions are really not a surprise. Although it once seemed that online travel agencies would expand the booking opportunities for hotels, timeshare resorts, airlines, and other travel services, no one really expected them to move into a position of market control (no one except perhaps their investors and key stockholders.) But because consumers have become so extremely comfortable in booking travel products online, OTAs are not just expanding the business of the brands they offer, in many cases they are cannibalizing it.

Timeshare Resorts and the Online Travel Agencies

The business model conflicts experienced by hotels and airlines with the OTAs are messy, but the challenges of the OTAs and timeshare resorts are even more problematic. Many timeshare resorts currently rent their unused intervals at a fixed price via OTAs on a regular basis. Comments made in online travel review sites clearly show that some consumers recognize that they are renting timeshare through an OTA, some don’t, and others figure it out after they get to the resort.

Yet while timeshare resorts can commit to the OTA that carries their inventory that the resort will not undercut the OTA, they can’t control the price at which an individual timeshare owner will rent his or her vacation ownership interval or points. Timeshare owners are the competition that neither the timeshare resorts or even the biggest online travel agency can control — nor should they ever be able to control them.

… The relationship between travel services and the online travel booking websites appears to be in transition … and it certainly looks as if the market is ripe and ready for change.