NEW YORK -- Forget Airbnb and the sharing economy, the hotel industry's biggest nemesis today is tech giants like Google, Facebook and Amazon.

That seemed to the consensus Monday during a panel of CEOs at the 40th annual NYU International Hospitality Industry Investment Conference.

The issue: the entrance of tech giants into the travel space and their ability as intermediaries to gather and adeptly use so much personal information about customers.

"I think we are in an absolute war for who owns the customer, and it's a long-term war," Marriott International CEO Arne Sorenson said.

"They are without a doubt trying to take our customers," he said. "They want to own our customers."

To be clear, he said, the hotel industry will be competing with Airbnb for years. But as Hilton CEO Christopher Nassetta noted, the "world is taking care of that" as governments have begun to adopt rules to level the competitive playing field between sharing companies and traditional hospitality companies.

To win the battle of customer ownership, AcccorHotels CEO Sebastien Bazin said hoteliers need to take advantage of every opportunity to interface directly with their customers.

"They have all the information on me but they have never met me," he said. "We just have to take advantage of that moment. ... That moment of interface is very valuable."

Nassetta agreed.

"In a sense, it's shame on us if we don't own the customer," he said. "They sleep with us, they eat with us. They shower with us."

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