Industry Update
Editorial Article10 June 2005

Interview w/ Max Starkov, President and CEO, Hospitality eBusiness Solutions – Discussing the article: The End of the Merchant Model as We Know It

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The always informative Max Starkov joins us in this Windows Media streaming audio interview to follow-up on the article he co-wrote with Jason Price. Is this really the end of the merchant model? If so, why? We also discuss the comeback of the traditional travel agency and the possible downfall of third-party hotel websites. If you’ve ever booked a hotel room on-line, this is worth listening to. You may want to take notes.

Max Starkov is Chief eBusiness Strategist at Hospitality eBusiness Strategies, Inc. in New York City. He advises companies in the Travel and Hospitality verticals on their Internet and eDistribution strategies. His eBusiness expertise is sought after by a diverse client portfolio of top tier multinational hospitality corporations, hotel management and representation companies, and independent, privately owned properties. Max is a highly recognized eBusiness expert in the hospitality industry. Max also teaches graduate courses on "Hospitality/Tourism e-Distribution Systems", "e-CRM in Hospitality", Hospitality eKnowledge Systems" and "e-Travel" at New York University's prestigious Tisch Center for Hospitality, Tourism and Travel Administration. Max has an extensive eBusiness and Web travel technologies experience. He co-founded and served as CEO and Director of two eBusiness companies: Whale Media, Inc. (B2B travel technology infrastructure provider to the hospitality, corporate travel and convention and meetings markets) and, Inc. (B2C online travel marketplace, ranked 3rd in its category after Under his leadership Whale Media won the prestigious 2001 Worldwide Microsoft RAD Award for its SmartSuite Web-based technology applications, inventory management and reservation systems for hospitality. Max has 20 years experience in pioneering and building successful travel businesses and eBusiness strategies for national and multinational hospitality and travel companies. He has written numerous reports, industry research, and published articles in major travel and hospitality publications. Max has an MBA degree, Beta Gamma Sigma Honors, from Fordham University in New York and an MS in Global Economics degree.

Hospitality eBusiness Strategies, Inc. - Hospitality eBusiness Strategies, Inc. is a leading Internet strategy-consulting firm for the hospitality and travel verticals. At HeBS, we advise lodging and travel companies on Internet, eDistribution and eMarketing strategies in key eBusiness areas. Whether an independent or branded hotel, major hotel chain or hotel management company, our clients stay ahead of the competition and capture new market share with an effective Internet strategy. For more information visit

Kevin Heilbronner is the US Editor for and, providing streaming multimedia-content for these websites. Based outside of Washington DC, Heilbronner has worked with Hsyndicate to conduct interviews at several hospitality trade shows in the US and Europe over the last couple of years. His column and content are featured in the Hospitality Net weekly newsletter. A familiar voice in Washington, DC, Heilbronner is the stadium announcer for the NBA's Washington Wizards, WNBA's Washington Mystics and WUSA's Washington Freedom. He resides in Centreville, VA and can be reached via email: [email protected]

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The End of the Merchant Model as We Know It | By Max Starkov and Jason Price

23 March 2005 — The explosion of the "merchant model" after 9/11 caught the hospitality industry by surprise. Over the last 4 years many hoteliers have been struggling to decrease their dependence on the online merchants and to develop direct online distribution strategies of their own.
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Mariana Safer
SVP Global Marketing
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