The most-read hotel marketing articles of 2015News / OnlineBy Viewpoints | December 24, 2015Share This article was originally published on Every year HotelMarketing.com publishes a review of the most read articles in the past year. Going through the list is somewhat of a treasure trove for hotel marketers and revenue managers. NB: This is a guest post by Martin Soler, chief marketing officer of SnapShot.It may not predict future trends but it certainly helps us understand what the industry is focusing on and how we might strategically react.What made the overall top-50 list?The End of Rate Parity caught everyone's attention Some 17% of the most popular articles were related to the unfolding story of rate parity and how it is being taken down. Many are targeting Booking.com, which I would say isn't totally fair as rate parity isn't their invention. Surely some people stand to gain or loose from this. The fact is, rate parity isn't a natural equilibrium and nature has a tendency to change things like this.Direct Bookings are as popular as ever Hotels love direct bookings and this is more obvious than ever. I don't recall a year where direct bookings were more popular than in 2015. Interestingly enough Booking.com does believe they are the cheapest source of revenue for a hotel. Arguably rate parity is about direct revenue, but we've decided to split the two.Marketing innovations are less interesting than revenue optimization Interestingly, marketing innovations are only third place when it comes to popular items on hotelmarketing.com. One would think that new ways to market one's hotel would top the list, at least in our frenetic digital society. Ultimately, this is a good thing as optimizing is certainly an important element. Nevertheless, our industry could use more innovation here.Metasearch evolution got people worried To be fair, Google and TripAdvisor owned the stories on meta-search last year. Their shift from pay-per-click model to commission model concerned more than one hotel marketer, wondering if they will remain meta-search engines or if they are turning into OTAs.OTAs dominate The dominance of OTAs in the hotel marketing and revenue management space has hoteliers watching. The duopoly of Expedia and Booking.com and their growing power on hotel distribution was interesting enough to keep readers clicking. Hotels are rightfully concerned, especially that there doesn't seem to be much happening to change that fact.Airbnb and the disruptors of the future Hoteliers, hotel marketers, distribution managers, and revenue managers are keeping a lookout for who will be the next big industry disruptor and it looks like everyone agrees Airbnb is it. Between Expedia buying up competitors and Airbnb clones (owned by Booking and TripAdvisor) - the fact remains that Airbnb is on the path to disruption carefully following the "rules of disruption" to the letter.Travel Tech's consolidation didn't go unnoticed Thank goodness it didn't, this is the year Sabre announced they are buying Trust, Expedia bought Orbitz and Travelocity, and Marriott bought Starwood. One would have expected this to be on the top of the list, since 2015 can probably go down history as the biggest hospitality tech consolidation year ever.What didn't make the list?Do-it-yourself hotel websitesThis topic doesn't seem to make too many hoteliers concerned today, except for maybe those with too little money to invest in custom websites and those innovators who have already discovered that one doesn't need all the bells and whistles, one just needs websites that work - extremely well.Big Data for hotels Some innovators such as HeBS, SnapShot, Xotels, Duetto, ForwardKeys, citizenM, Accor (yes, them, too) have been on the Big Data path for a while, but it seems hoteliers and hotel marketers aren't yet too concerned about what to do with their data and how to use it. It could be exactly the point -- nobody seems to have a broadly applicable solution that works for everyone.The real costs of hotel marketing Talks of increasing direct bookings and reducing OTA influence are hot topics. But few if any hoteliers understand or know what their real cost of distribution is. Kalibri Labs, Xotels, SnapShot, and formerly Yeeld Solutions have been working on solutions for this for quite a while and hotels should begin to look into it. Once one starts to clearly look at what it really costs to pay for advertising, sales teams, commissions, transaction fees and the likes, it paints a very different picture of what the most profitable hotel marketing channel is. Some revenue managers already know the answer, and maybe that's why they aren't jumping onto every shiny marketing object that comes their way.Overall, what a year for hotel marketing and revenue technology!The 20 most-popular topics in 2015Booking.com alarmed by France’s new hotel rate parity plansBooking.com officially launches BookingSuite, creates free websites for small hotelsGoogle expected to roll out new “captive demand” platform for hotelsMarriott launches “it pays to book direct” campaignFrance bans all hotel rate parity clauses by lawGoogle Hotel Finder officially retired, Hotel Ads Commission Program now open for all hotelsStudy ranks world’s most popular luxury hotel brands for 2015New study confirms Airbnb’s negative impact on hotel industryOTAs see chaos when rate parity endsThe TripAdvisor effectSabre acquires Trust Group, creates world’s largest hotel CRS providerBooking.com to abandon rate parity in EuropeOTA consolidation bad news for hotelsAmazon closes hotel booking serviceAirbnb is the next big hotel distribution channelBooking.com to amend parity provisions throughout EuropeEt tu, Brute? Why “Book on Google” and “Book on TripAdvisor” Will Be a Nightmare for the Hospitality IndustryIndependent Hotelier’s Big Data vs. Real-Time Data ConundrumWhy People Abandon Their BookingTripAdvisor and Booking.com enter Instant Booking partnershipNB: This is a guest post by Martin Soler, chief marketing officer of SnapShot.