Max Starkov

Adjunct Professor NYU Tisch Center for Hospitality and Hospitality & Online Travel Tech Consultant

Max Starkov Author yearbook

Max Starkov is a hospitality and online travel industry technologist, consultant and digital strategist with 20 plus years of experience in hospitality technology and digital marketing, hotel online distribution and revenue management, OTA channel management, hotel CRM and branding strategies.

Until recently, Max was the Founder, President & CEO and more recently, Founder and Board Director at NextGuest (formerly HEBS Digital) in New York City, the hospitality industry’s leading digital consulting, technology, CRM and marketing firm with 150 employees and offices in North America, Europe and Asia Pacific.

For over 20 years now, as a hospitality and online travel industry expert-consultant with all major expert knowledge networks, Max has consulted Wall Street analysts and investment bankers worldwide on the online travel marketplace, hospitality industry, online travel agencies (OTAs) like Booking Holdings, Expedia, Trip, HRS, etc.; bed banks like; metasearch players like TripAdvisor,, Trivago; on Google Travel (Ex. Google Hotel Ads); Social media travel advertising (ex. Facebook's Travel Ads) and Amazon's travel initiatives.

Insights by Max Starkov (174)

Are hotel loyalty and rewards programs enough to keep customers loyal to the brand?

The best demonstration of brand loyalty in hospitality and travel, in general, is the share of repeat business. Travel consumers are buried under an avalanche of options and offers, and if they repeatedly choose your brand over the competing alternatives, obviously your brand has an appeal above and beyond the competition.

Is hotel metasearch a distribution or advertising channel?

Hotel metasearch has become a distribution channel and is no longer an advertising channel ever since Google introduced its Pay-per-stay (PPS) fee model. Other metasearch players like Trivago and Kayak all offer CPA (Cost per acquisition) model, which is not in tune with the current era of high cancellation rates due to Covid uncertainties and ever-changing travel restrictions.

Working with OTAs: The Indirect Distribution Dilemma

Let's not sugarcoat it: OTA distribution comes at a very steep cost to the hospitality industry. OTA commissions paid by hotels, as percentage of Guest Paid Revenue, have DOUBLED since 2015 (Kalibri Labs).

The contactless guest journey is here to stay, or is it?

The contactless guest journey is here to stay. The hospitality industry will not be going back to the old times of 100% human-assisted guest journey. Why? To begin with, the current labor shortage is not going away anytime soon.

How to manage revenue in a pent-up demand era?

Reinvention is the “Mother of Success” in the post-COVID era. If you are a corporate hotel, these corporate groups and managed corporate travelers are not coming back anytime soon.
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