“Party in the USA” reverberated through a hotel ballroom as party-goers danced and, in their hands, hobby horses bobbed along with the beat. People grabbed cowboy hats off of the tables as they flocked to the floor, singing along with Miley Cyrus. Snatches of conversation in English, Dutch and Portuguese floated over the music. Most of the revelers had traveled a long way, and their journeys from Singapore, Sydney, São Paulo, London, Ghent and beyond had culminated at this Old West-themed event in Vail, Colorado.
OTA Insight’s global team was celebrating the company’s 10-year anniversary, and the energy generated by a week of connecting in-person, hearing client testimonials, collaborating and planning bubbled into a final dynamic evening of food, music and dance.
“We have so many different cultures that create one OTA Insight family with shared values,” Business Development Manager Megan Boosalis said. “At the team gathering, I felt comfortable with my colleagues from all over the world. Seeing authenticity from our founders and CEO gives me so much faith in the future of the company.”
“Seeing authenticity from our founders and CEO gives me so much faith in the future of the company.”
That future was on display throughout the week. United under the theme “Elevate Each Other,” presentations showcased exciting work from teams across the company. Viktor Edstrom, a business development manager alongside Boosalis, sensed anticipation building as the team learned about what is on the horizon.
“From a sales perspective, I love being part of a company that is constantly innovating,” Edstrom said. “Clients get excited about buying a product that they know is constantly improving. They know their feedback will be heard. And when I have reasons to go back and share about new features and new releases, it makes it easier to sustain a great client relationship.”
Edstrom believes that those features are only getting better. “Our engineering team is leading the industry,” he said. “And OTA insight continues investing in that team, which really establishes what our priorities are in terms of building a great product for our customers.”
What they do
OTA Insight is a hotel revenue management SaaS company headquartered in London with a mission “to help the hospitality industry visualize and leverage data for business success.” Their product offerings are focused on supporting hotel management groups and independent hoteliers in over 185 countries.
With colleagues logging on each day from more than 30 countries, OTA Insight is bringing together diverse perspectives and ideas. During the global gathering, Dominique Feldman’s team crowded into a hotel room to share diverse flavors as well.
“Our team members from all over the world brought snacks from their hometowns,” Feldman said. “Chocolate from both Hershey, Pennsylvania, and Belgium and salty Spin Crackers from the Singapore team were real hits. But nobody ate my pickled okra.”
Feldman’s video feed crackled momentarily, and she apologized — she had joined the Zoom call from a hostel in Edinburgh, Scotland, more than 4,000 miles from her usual desk in OTA Insight’s Denver office.
“As long as we communicate, our teams are flexible and supportive of us.”
“OTA Insight wants us to have personal lives, and wants us to explore and travel,” Feldman, who works as an onboarding specialist, said. “As long as we are doing our jobs and performing, they want us to go do the things that are important to us — taking care of our families, walking our dogs, traveling the world. As long as we communicate, our teams are flexible and supportive of us.”
Edstrom also joined the Zoom call from a remote office — though from across town rather than across the globe.
“I have a small child, and putting family first is my current place in life,” Edstrom said. “OTA Insight has been supportive and flexible since I first joined the company in January. As long as I’m performing, I am completely empowered to prioritize my family.”
In the office with OTA Insight
As OTA Insight outgrew their Denver coworking space and began to develop plans for a new office, they turned to their team. Consensus quickly built around what was important to the young team in Denver.
They didn’t want to sacrifice the vibrant, walkable neighborhood that surrounded their WeWork space, but they wanted parking, too. The company listened.
Today, the new office, perched in Denver’s trendy Highlands neighborhood, shares a building with trendy restaurants and boasts incredible views over downtown Denver — as well as ample parking spots. With ice cream shops, bookstores, galleries and breweries all within blocks, Lower Highland — or LoHi — fit the bill for the OTA Insight team and draws team members in to work together.
“The office validates that our company takes employee well-being and relationships seriously,” Edstrom said. “It’s easy here for us to share a meal or go out to a happy hour, which helps us build team culture.”
Inspired by a similar table on an even larger scale in the company’s Ghent office, the long custom table in the Denver office’s kitchen is emblematic of OTA Insight’s larger priorities for both the office and team.
“The Ghent office has a tradition that they stop their day to eat lunch together. Our leadership team brought that here when developing this office,” Boosalis said. “It creates a collaborative environment.”
“Sometimes the table doesn’t even fit us all,” Feldman added with a laugh.
In the office, Boosalis enjoys the perks of OTA Insight’s flexible culture.
“My dog Layla is laying right on the other side of this door,” Boosalis said, gesturing through the glass-paned door to a shepherd mutt sleeping on the other side. “We have a very open workstyle — no closed offices, lots of dogs and our long family-style lunch table.”
Building a global hybrid culture
Cross-cultural collaboration is central to work at OTA Insight, whether team members are gathering virtually or in-person.
“Understanding how people buy and sell differently around the world gives me deeper insight into our work.”
“We get to tap into the minds of different regions,” Edstrom said. “Understanding different customs and rituals as well as how people buy and sell differently around the world gives me deeper insight into our work.”
With a global perspective on work, leaders at OTA Insight give their teams latitude to get the job done. “The company does a great job of respecting people’s time,” Edstrom said. “Meetings are efficient, and there is a lot of autonomy to be responsible for our own jobs and responsibilities. There is trust that people will do their job well and a lack of micromanaging because managers have confidence in their teams’ abilities.”
Even as Edstrom explores the different approaches his peers take to sales around the world, some traditions are consistent across OTA Insight’s offices.
“Dominique and I are both Care Bears,” Boosalis said. “We focus on initiatives that help keep us connected whether people are in-office, hybrid or remote.”
When Boosalis first joined the company, she was working remotely from Minnesota. “Care Bears made a world of difference because I always preferred being social and working in an office, and building those connections helped me feel like I was part of the culture.”
“My interview process felt like a family fit from the first conversation, and OTA Insight has lived up to that great first impression.”
Part of the Care Bears’ work in building culture includes celebrating OTA Insight’s diverse team.
“We host parties and celebrate holidays, too,” Feldman said. “I hosted a Passover Seder because that is part of my culture, and those celebrations serve as a way to build cultural awareness.”
Celebrations aren’t isolated to Care Bears or the global gathering, though.
As the sales team shares closed deals, colleagues celebrate each other in a way familiar to many hybrid teams — with personalized Slack emojis. Boosalis regularly gets showered with emojis and gifs featuring her pup, Layla. Feldman’s face flashes alongside a bowl of miso soup. And Edstrom has one celebrating his Swedish roots.
“When Viktor first joined the team, he had immediate success,” Boosalis said. “So I made a gif of a red-haired viking blowing a horn. It’s listed as ‘victorious’ because Viktor is always winning the deals.”
Edstrom laughed and pointed at his own red hair. “I really enjoy it quite a bit,” he admitted.
The Denver team’s camaraderie and motivation is built on a foundation of OTA Insight’s global values.
“From my first impression, OTA Insight has been transparent and candid,” Boosalis said. “And every priority, decision and event keeps our shared culture alive.”