7 questions with SOARR OTA Revenue Recovery's Ryan NeGron

Ryan NeGron, vice president of sales and marketing at SOARR OTA Revenue Recovery, is set to attend Hotec Operations, an annual conference presented by Questex, the parent company of Hotel Management. At the conference—scheduled this year for June 11-14 at the PGA National Resort in Palm Beach Gardens, Fla.—buyers meet one-on-one with hospitality-focused suppliers to learn about new products and services and to keep up to date on emerging trends. Ahead of the event, NeGron shared his insights on how OTAs and hotels can work together and how booking trends are evolving.

1. How has your segment of the industry changed over the past year? 

OTA reservations have become increasingly crucial for hotels in both small and large markets. Younger consumers are shifting away from traditional “brand loyalty" and are turning to OTAs more often. Recent statistics indicate that even direct bookings are impacted, with over 65 percent originating from searches on OTAs. During the COVID era of travel, hoteliers carried the [narrative] of "The OTAs are charging too much" ... Now, Hoteliers need to embrace the importance they can play on their properties’ bottom line.

2. Can you share some ways you and your company have adapted to these changes? 

As hotels experience a rise in prepaid reservations and adopt lean staffing models, it becomes crucial to collaborate with vendors and partners who value OTA performance without burdening frontline employees or property managers with additional tasks. We've adjusted how we work with our hotels, limiting most if not all effort required from the property level. Our services now run in the background, allowing the property to focus on the most important task: It's people (employees, guests, etc.).

3. What are some trends you think will have staying power beyond 2024? 

SOARR OTA Revenue Recovery's Ryan NeGron

Digital booking is rapidly replacing the traditional method of contacting hotels directly or calling a central reservation line. Personally, I hate having to call 1-800-reservations when there's a possibility of needing a change that I can't manage through my app. I also like variety of hotels when I stay. As a young business traveler myself, I want a different experience from one week to the next, so using OTAs to preform a search of hotels in the area is an amazing ability.

4. What is the biggest challenge you have overcome over the past year? 

OTAs don't necessarily love what we do. They collect an average of $250 million every year from hotels who fail to collect all of the revenue due to them for prepaid reservations they hosted. After 365 (for more OTAs) those funds get returned to the agencies in the form of "Additional Revenue". As we continue to grow, the OTAs continue to try and change their processes and procedures in an attempt to "throw us off our scent" ... We identify, adapt and advance. Since we're not an auditing software, we're able to catch these changes rather quickly.

5. How have you incorporated environmental, social and governance efforts into your hospitality operations? 

We at SOARR believe "Fair is Fair" and want to see a world where hoteliers collect every penny they're entitled to from the OTAs. Regardless of whether you manage one hotel or 1,000, a penny recovered is a penny added to the P&L. ... Hoteliers like myself know how to stretch the value of a dollar when it comes to on-property operations.

6. What are you most excited about accomplishing over the next year? 

SOARR is growing at a fantastic rate. We've really made strides in our onboarding process and our actual auditing process to be able to handle a crazy exponential amount of growth as we continue to work with some of the biggest names in the "hospitality management game" while also sticking with our roots, working with everyday hotel owners, regardless of room count, portfolio size, etc.

7. What is the value of meeting hospitality buyers one on one? 

Events like Hotec Operations allow us to fully explain what we do without confusion. There are plenty of groups that offer OTA reconciliation, but SOARR is different, and being able to explain the difference between OTA reconciliation and revenue recovery is incredibly valuable.

Hotec Operations will take place June 11-14 at the PGA National Resort in Palm Beach Gardens, Fla. Applications are open for buyers and suppliers.