CA Boardroom Elite 2017

, Getaroomwas created to offer clients the very best values at hotels and other types of lodging inmajor destinations worldwide. We explore the secrets behind the success of this leader in online hotel bookings. Best Hotel Booking & Reservation Website 2017 Founded by Bob Diener and Dave Litman, two visionaries who revolutionized the hotel industry over two decades ago by co-founding what became , getaroom has grown from offering limited markets to a worldwide business, offering B to B support and a consumer facing business with a focus on offering the highest level of customer care. They created the merchant model for booking hotel rooms online which is the standard way we still book hotel rooms today. They achieved the same level of excellence with . These two leaders in the hotel booking industry met while in law school at Cornell in 1979. They both practiced law at two of the country’s top law firms: Diener practiced at Gibson Dunn in Los Angeles and Litman practiced at Johnson & Swanson in Dallas. After practicing law for a little over two years, they started an airline business together which they sold in 1990 and founded Hotel Reservations Network. Known in the industry as HRN, they negotiated deals with hotels and started a consumer marketplace to book deals on hotels. To provide consumers with good value and provide a model with great cash flow, they created the merchant model for booking hotel rooms, the dominant model still used today to book hotel rooms. HRN negotiated net rates from the hotels and sold the rooms at a mark-up which resulted in a discount to the consumer. Customers paid up-front for the hotel rooms and HRN negotiated terms with the hotels. This provided great cash flow for HRN to expand their business. They quickly expanded from six markets to a worldwide business and in 1995 discovered a new technology called the internet. Together the pair built one of the first sites for commerce on the web, and in 1996 it accounted for over 6% of their business even though it was not interactive. When the internet became interactive in 1997, their business exploded. Diener likens it to the industrial revolution because now consumers could instantly book hotel rooms anywhere in the world and receive an instant response. Consumers were frustrated booking hotels because travel agents did not want to be bothered with it at the time. Commission on hotel bookings was low so their focus was on airfare bookings which paid generous commissions. At the time, most consumers spent a lot of time contacting hotels by phone to find a hotel room. With , the process was now simple and easy and HRN started growing at triple digit rates. In 1999, they sold a majority interest to USA Networks, which became Interactive Corp., and took the company public in 2000, in one of the most successful IPOs ever. In a market where most internet companies were going out of business as NASDAQ crashed, HRN stock, which became stock ROOM, went from $16 to $92. Diener and Litman kept the company highly profitable while most internet companies at the time were only focused on their top line revenue, spending a fortune on marketing and taking on large losses. In 2003, Diener and Litman sold the balance of their interest to IAC and was merged with Expedia. They had a five year non-compete and spent those five years in philanthropy helping many causes. When their non-compete ended, they saw an opportunity in the lodging market similar to when they launched HRN. The economy was dropping, hotels were looking for more channels of distribution and consumers were looking for better values and different ways to book hotels. They decided to create a new marketplace for booking hotels: . Working together, the pair created unique ways to book hotels on and get a better deal. The first is through Flash Sales. These are limited time offers running anywhere from two to seventy-two hours that hotels offer consumers K who book the hotel room by the sale deadline. Stays can typically be anytime but the room must be booked within the time window of the sale. Travelers can save as much as 60% off the lowest rate online if they book by the deadline. Hotels love the program because most travelers visit sites several times before they make a booking decision and the Flash Sale provides the incentive to book immediately and at their hotel. Also, the Flash Sales encourage advance booking so the hotels can increase their occupancy level and raise their rates to those who book closer to check-in. The hotels receive incremental bookings that otherwise would have been lost or gone to another property and now have a new and effective revenue management tool. The consumers receive a great value, visit the site often and become loyal customers. You never know when the Flash Sales are coming so this randomness of the sales encourages consumers to visit the site often to find the deals. Then they created the daily deals. Every day getaroom offers several hotels that have a special deal for 12 hours. They typically launch between 9 am and 12 pm, based on the time zone of the hotel. Most hotels allow stays over an extended period, usually 60 days. The deals are at popular hotels in top markets such as New York, Chicago,