Online Travel Agents—Hotels’ Foe or Friend? A Case Study of Mainland China

Lorraine Zhang, Basak Denizci Guillet, Deniz Kucukusta Seyidir

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)


The emerging Chinese hotel market offers clear opportunities for online travel agents (OTAs). The distribution landscape has been reshaped as a result of recent technological advancements and new emerging players. This study examines how OTAs operate in the Chinese market and their relationship with hotels from an agency theory perspective. Data were collected from secondary sources using keyword searches from January 2013 to May 2014. The findings indicate that hotels have little negotiating power with OTAs, and consequently the OTAs play a dominant role in their relationship with hotels. Meanwhile, the competition between OTAs is more intense than the competition between OTAs and hotels due to recent technological advancements and the intervention of Baidu, Alibaba, and Tencent in the Chinese OTA market.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)349-370
Number of pages22
JournalJournal of China Tourism Research
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2 Oct 2015


  • agency problem
  • hotel
  • hotel distribution
  • Online travel agents

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cultural Studies
  • Language and Linguistics
  • Linguistics and Language
  • Tourism, Leisure and Hospitality Management


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