A downturn opens the door for disruption in hard hit industries, but the CEO at one of the world’s largest hotel companies says a business like his does more than any tech platform can replace.

The CEOs of Kayak and Sonder in the last week doubled down on the idea a low-cost technology platform could disrupt the hotel business at the property level. The idea is that technology can cut down on costs — who needs a staffed front desk and all those other features of a traditional hotel? — and drive a more efficient line of business for hotel owners.

Kayak is already underway with branded hotels in partnership with Life House while Sonder, which recently went public, continues to build up its business that acts like a hybrid hotel and short-term rental platform. Lower operational costs while maintaining widespread distribution can be music to the ears of hotel owners still financially struggling from the weight of the pandemic.

This kind of knife sharpening by tech providers eyeing the hotel space isn’t new for IHG Hotels & Resorts CEO Keith Barr.

“This is like when Oyo came out, and there was the question of what was going to happen with [online travel agencies], and I have to remind our board — and they get it — is distribution is a piece of the value proposition that we bring,” Barr said in an interview with Skift this week during the Americas Lodging Investment Summit. “It’s not the entirety of it, which is why what we do is so complicated.”

Sonder’s model is that it rents out units it manages through a lease or revenue share agreement with the owner of apartment buildings, and even actual hotels. Company leaders have previously stated Sonder can chop traditional hotel costs in half by its method of relying more on technology and less on physical staff and amenities that add up in overhead.

Read the full article at skift Inc.