Who are we?

A team of people who wake up every day and imagine a world where OTAs (Online Travel Agencies) are used by hotels and vacation rentals to supplement their business in a strategic way, not be their business.

Why do we exist?

We imagine a world where OTAs are used by hotels and vacation rentals to supplement their business in a strategic way, not be their business. We wake up every day with a true passion, inspired from within, to create this world we imagine. OTA Hero was created to help hotels and vacation rentals get their business back and/or keep it. We love OTAs, but most hotels we have worked with were getting the majority of their business from OTAs and we found that this has some serious negative business implications. So, we started to develop products and services to help hotels and vacation rentals get more direct bookings. In fact, since 2009, we have developed over 40 tools and services to win more direct bookings. OTAs are certainly friends for a hotel or vacation rental, but they come at a price. OTAs add to the top line revenue when needed but, at the same time, hotel brand dilution happens and OTAs take a bite out of the bottom line and guest experience.

The relationship between hotels and OTAs cannot be categorized as black or white, it is a grey area. OTAs bring in distribution and reach which is a great thing. We bring balance to the OTA/direct booking ratio. We bring the majority line share of your business from direct bookings and lower OTA commission fees. Most of our clients, after using our tools and services, lower their OTA dependency to below 15%. This means 85% of their business comes from direct bookings and not an OTA.

What do we stand for?

We stand for trackable results and execution of ongoing strategies through our services and tools to get hotels and vacation rentals into a position to not solely rely on OTAs. Ask yourself this question: if I turned off my OTAs today, would I still generate enough revenue to stay in business? If your answer is no, then you are an ideal client for us. You are why we exist and where our intrinsic passion is. OTAs eat hotel’s revenue and segment the guest experience. This is why we believe OTAs should be used as a supplement and not as a core revenue resource.

Why are we different?

Our strategies are based on the first principles thinking approach with the end in mind. The end in mind is to increase your direct bookings, improve the guest experiences and add more profit and revenue for you.

We always start with the end in mind and then reverse engineer using the first principles method. If you look at any person or business who has had abnormal success given the same circumstances, you will normally find out they thought differently than anyone else doing what they did and that explains why they got a different result.

If you are new to the first principles method it is a pretty basic concept, but most never use it. You have 2 core ways to think. The first is by analogy and the second is by the first principles method. Using the analogy process, you compare experiences to what we already know. Business XYZ does ABC and it seems to work, so we should try that and maybe we can do X and improve upon what they are doing. If we use this method, we will end up getting what everyone else has. What everyone else has in the marketing world is a method of tracking estimated impressions by anonymous people, like an estimated guess. You get additional dependency on bookings from a single or at best a handful of sources. This leads us to the first principles way of thinking. When using the first principles way of thinking, you don’t think by what other people are doing or by what you have already done, you think using fundamental truths. Below are the core fundamental truths we started with when creating the OTA Hero suite of tools and services for hotels and vacation rentals.

Over 100 years ago, John Wanamaker made this quote and many people still use it today: “Half the money I spend on advertising is wasted; the trouble is I don’t know which half.” Answering John’s question for our clients is why we were founded. Our clients never have to ask this question because we can tell them exactly what is working and what is not.

Knowing what is working and what is not allows us to continually optimize results. That is why we get results other marketing-related companies do not get – even when we operate with the same budget.

Things Every Hotel or Vacation Rental Should Want

Over 70% of vacation planning starts online and it’s growing more every year, so we must have a solid website. If we cannot get them to the site, we cannot track or control the sale, and the goal is for your guests to book directly with you as much as possible.

A way to track conversion and conversion costs. For a lodging company, a conversion is getting someone to reserve a room, but, more importantly, getting them to book with the most optimal profit margin.
Get in front of people with the intent to book and people who are looking for a company likes yours.
Be able to track where exactly they came from to find your website where they can book direct.
Be able to track acquisition costs. In other words, knowing how much it costs to get someone to visit the site and book direct.
A way to constantly optimize conversion.

Marketing, in its simplest form, is getting in front of the right person at the right time to convert them. Internally, we like to say we day trade attention and use the best tools and methods to constantly arbitrage to get the most conversion at the least cost. We must constantly ask and be able to answer the following questions:

  • Are we in front of the right people who want to make a reservation?
  • Are they taking the actions we want for them to book direct?
  • Are we getting an acquisition cost that allows us optimal profit?
  • Are we using OTAs as a supplement when we need help or in certain season times when our direct booking acquisition costs are more than it is to have the guests book through an OTA? Target depending on market and season is 8-12% acquisition costs and also lower OTA fees by 9%.
  • Is our process scalable?
  • Is our process repeatable?
  • Is our process constantly being optimized for optimal results?
  • Is there a better way?

What can you expect from us?

You can expect us to refine our systems and processes and evolve in an ever changing world where consumer behaviors, platform shifts and marketing channels change rapidly. We track what we do with the end in mind – increasing direct bookings, improving guest experiences and increasing your profit and revenue.

1. OTAs are great for hotels when used as a supplement.

2. Hotels should know their guests and create an experience that is a true representation of the brands beliefs and values from the time the guest starts to plan their vacation until after they check out.

3. Hotels can and should be acquiring direct bookings below any OTA fees. Most companies pay OTAs 15-25% in fees and we have proven you can drive direct bookings for 8-12%.

4. A guest should feel confident they can book direct with a hotel and get the best value monetarily and experientially.

5. A business should be able to remain sustainable and profitable regardless of what changes an OTA makes.