In 2005 a group of twenty-two small to mid-sized hotels from many Costa Rican tourist destinations banded together to take on the system. Looking for intelligent options to fill their rooms, and tired of waiting for guests to miraculously arrive at their hotel when counting on travel agents and the big internet boys (expedia, travelocity, orbitz and hotels.com), the hotel group started off on the simple premise of working as a team by sending guests to each other, and offering the guests a 10% discount as incentive. When guests are leaving for another part of Costa Rica, members would refer their guests to the association or other specific member hotels. And by everybody assisting everyone, it actually worked and they all made several new reservations.
Calling themselves Adventure Hotels of Costa Rica (AHCR), they merged into a non-profit association of independent, owner-operated, eco-friendly three and four star hotels strategically located throughout Costa Rica. The association includes all types of small and mid-sized of hotels; small boutique hotels, mountain lodges, yoga and wellness spas, surfing schools, romantic honeymoon B&Bs, beach hotels, city hotels, adventure resorts, it had them all. In 2005 they printed 10,000 Costa Rican road maps that member hotels would offer to their guests as nice little farewell gifts, who then use them to navigate around Costa Rica and (hopefully) stay at other member hotels. AHCR even built its’ first prototype website, http://www.adventurehotelsofcostarica.com
Word spread of its success and AHCR more than tripled it’s membership in 2008 to seventy-one hotels. But they never lost sight of it’s primary purpose, hotels helping each other. Founders Eric and Mike Robinson, father and son and owners of Adventure Inn, a San Jose / airport hotel, http://www.adventure-inn.com decided to utilize the large membership for search engine optimization and the association website climbed rapidly in the search results.
But AHCR did not stop there. Starting in January 2011, membership peaked at eighty-nine member hotels. They printed 41,000 large glossy high-quality Costa Rica road maps that locate, describe and provide contact info for each member hotel. AHCR also eases the burden of member hotels to confidently find suitable three and four star accommodations for their guests in other Costa Rican locations, because all hotels have been pre-screened for quality.
But most importantly, the AHCR website, http://www.adventurehotelsofcostarica.com has been climbing in the search engines for all the popular searches due to even larger group internet strategies.
AHCR’s unique philosophy has been attracting more and more guests each year. Guests are becoming sophisticated and starting to recognize the logistical and economic advantages of avoiding the middlemen, and contacting the individual hotels directly. Also, instead of wasting money on middlemen commissions and advertising, AHCR members offer small discounts directly to the guests, the people who are actually paying the shot, who may return, or recommend member hotels to other tourists! If you are a visitor to Costa Rica and want to stay at any member hotel for a 10% discount, please click on the website above.