Inside SiteMinder’s brand repositioning

The guest acquisition platform has broadened its product platform and adapted its brand position to better capture its offering to hotel customers

While grounded planes and shuttered hotels were stark visual symbols of how the global coronavirus pandemic hit travel and tourism, what wasn’t so obvious was the impact on technology platforms that support this industry.

Guest acquisition and booking technology platform, SiteMinder, has felt the effects of the pandemic through its hotel and hospitality clients, which have been severely impacted by travel restrictions, closures and lockdowns.

In 2020, at the start of the crisis, the platform looked to embrace its customers in that volatile environment.

“We had a lot of information and intelligence and we wanted to engage customers and the broader industry to understand what was happening, listen to them and provide information and help them,” SiteMinder CMO, Mark Renshaw, told CMO.

Launching a program called ‘React Respond Recover’, SiteMinder worked to address the different stages hotels businesses may have been in, from reacting or responding to the crisis to looking to recover.

“It was really about us supporting the industry. The primary brand reputation objective for last year was that we wanted to be seen as being understanding; we wanted to be seen as engaging and we wanted to help as many hotels as we could with information, support, advice and whatever else we could provide,” Renshaw explained.

“We were already working together as teams, but maybe not as quickly in terms of the feedback loop and the ability to respond to the market.".

While this might not be happening in such an intense, daily manner in 2021, the practice remains. "A lot of the information sharing and collaborating much closer to the customer has stayed with the business to today,” Renshaw added.

Redefining the brand offering

At this point in the pandemic, SiteMinder is activating its repositioning as the ‘global hotel commerce platform’ to reflect its changing hotel services. It has also refreshed its own brands, such as Little Hotelier, to show how it is actively addressing the market. Renshaw explained the business was known as the guest acquisition platform, but that only encapsulates part of what it does.

“Distribution is huge part of what we do - making sure rooms and rates information is available for people to book in different channels, direct and indirect. However, we're also doing other services, creating more demand, doing things around payments. We have a hotel app store and lot of new things we've launched in the last couple of years, which really aren’t just purely acquisition,” he said.

The brand wanted to make sure it was positioned in a broader space to its potential customers with an identity which fully reflects all of its offerings. “Hotel commerce is the platform, which is all about how we make it easier for our hotels to be more efficient, more effective, and to scale and run their business better,” Renshaw continued.

Now after spending some time crafting the story internally, SiteMinder is ready to go out externally with its new corporate story, although it’s early days in the rollout of the repositioning and there are many things planned to come down the line.

“A lot of the things we talk about externally are going to be explaining what is happening in the world of hotel commerce,” Renshaw said.

Evolving the story

A lot of SiteMinder's latest initiatives and the products emerging are focused on helping customers and potential customers.

"They're also going to be a part of helping us see what the world of hotel commerce is all about, and how we can really help them,” Renshaw said. “Hotel commerce is a platform that will make it clear the breadth of services and products that we provide.”

The Little Hotelier brand addresses the smaller hotels that is transformative in how these smaller hotels and vacation rentals can embrace technology. It’s the first one launching this year. There are other initiatives coming later, which will also be adding different capabilities to different segments, but all within the world of hotel commerce.

For SiteMinder, all of the changes and initiatives are about adapting and reflecting the changing nature of the platform while retained the strong, core brand identity.

“We continue to evolve the corporate story, the platform story, but also maintain who we are as a brand,” Renshaw said.

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