Today, we’re talking to Siteminder! Read on for insider tips and the history of this great company.
Tell me about the history of SiteMinder.
SiteMinder was founded in 2006 inside a Sydney rental home by two unknowns named Mike Ford and Mike Rogers. Those are the two people who lead our company to this day.
From the beginning, the goal was to break down boundaries and challenge the way travel is distributed and sold. Ten years on, we’re proud to have 23,000 hotel customers that see the tangible benefits of using our solutions.
In 2014 SiteMinder became the first tech company based in Australia to be backed by Silicon Valley’s Technology Crossover Ventures (TCV). We joined the likes of Facebook, Netflix and LinkedIn as a TCV investment. Earlier this year, H2 Ventures and Investec ranked us among the 20 greatest pioneering tech companies to come out of Australia and New Zealand.
Tell me about the different services you offer.
SiteMinder enables both independent hotels and chains to reach, attract, and convert guests globally online. SiteMinder’s hotel customers now generate more than 43.5 million reservations and US$16 billion in revenue using our solutions.
These solutions include:
- The Channel Manager. The hotel industry’s most widely adopted channel management platform.
- TheBookingButton. An Internet booking engine for hotels to facilitate direct bookings.
- Canvas. The intelligent website creator for independent hoteliers.
- Prophet. A real-time market intelligence solution that takes the guesswork out of pricing rooms.
- GDS by SiteMinder. A single point of entry to the world’s travel agents and major global distribution systems.
What is the one mistake people in the travel industry make when it comes to customer service and how do you think SiteMinder can help fix it?
The mistake we come across the most is that many within the travel industry, in particular within hotels, still aren’t utilising technology effectively. They’re still relying on outdated, manual processes that are labour intensive, inefficient and risky, from a quality assurance perspective. These processes are probably more costly for hotels in the long run.
It’s incredibly difficult to be a hotelier today. Not only do you have to be great at customer service, but you also need to be an expert in marketing, revenue management, sales, operations and everything in between.
Hoteliers often tell us that while customer service is the most important thing to them, it is also their biggest challenge. In the day-to-day running of the business, they don’t get the chance to really focus on it as much as they know they should.
SiteMinder helps to fix that by giving them the chance to focus on the guest while we power the marketing and distribution technology that sets them up for success.
Tell me more about Prophet.
Prophet is a real-time market intelligence solution that takes the guesswork out of pricing hotel rooms and brings hotel software into the modern age. It’s also much more than that.
Prophet is about empowering the world’s hoteliers who know that revenue management is critical. But who also know that they don’t have the time, budget or expertise to harness the rapidly changing rate and market data available to them and use it to their advantage.
Prophet takes market rate and demand intelligence and breaks them down into consumable and meaningful insights. Hoteliers can then optimise their room rates, maximise their profitability and stay ahead of their competition easily and at an affordable cost.
How does it work? Prophet provides continually up to date, aggregated market data that is refreshed daily or live as requested by hoteliers through the system.
This means that users of Prophet can analyse their competitor set in one consolidated screen and respond to demand up to a year in advance. Using the product’s unique notifications feature, users will also receive email alerts based on their pre-defined rules on market fluctuations. They can say goodbye to manual forecasting and react quicker with strategic pricing decisions.
Is it a paid service?
Not for everyone. Prophet is completely free at the entry-level and more advanced users pay a low, flat monthly fee. This caters to hoteliers’ different needs and the level of data they require.
What is the biggest misconception of the work that you provide?
There are many, but generally, the biggest misconception amongst hoteliers is that our technology is “not for them”.
They believe that our technology isn’t within reach from a cost perspective, that it doesn’t suit their particular accommodation type or size or that they will struggle to contact us on a day to day basis because we’re a company based in Australia. These are all, of course, misconceptions.
We have technology for all hotels, irrespective of their type, size, location and budget. Our technology is cloud-based, so it has the ability to scale up or down to suit individual needs.
It’s supported by a team of 500 people around the world, many of whom are multilingual. The extranets of the products themselves are localised and available in the main languages of the most tourist-ready countries in the world.
If you could change one thing about the hospitality industry, what would it be?
There are few industries as hyper-connected and dynamic as the industry of travel and hospitality. That’s a wonderful and exciting thing, but also a challenge.
It’s a challenge because hotel technology generally hasn’t quite kept up with the speed at which the world is changing. As an industry, hoteliers have historically been exposed to clunky, slow and often unappealing software and they’ve had no choice but to get used to it.
This has meant that our industry has been left behind in terms of modern software. Through simple technology like SiteMinder, we can show that software can still serve a function effectively while looking beautiful and being a pleasure to use.
So, if we could change one thing, it would be our mindset as an industry. We need to be more open to adopting technology that can take us into the future, not leave us years behind.
What one bit of advice would you pass onto a small, independent hospitality owner in the UK?
Don’t be afraid to use technology. You are located in one of the most incredible spots on the planet, give yourself every opportunity to be found and booked by travellers, especially online. Turn those opportunities into revenue and profit for your small business, but do your homework. Look for technology like SiteMinder that is not only cost-effective but intuitive and easy to use because it’s been specifically designed with hoteliers in mind.
In terms of marketing, make sure you diversify your distribution mix. Don’t be afraid to experiment and analyse which channels work best for you. Always have full ownership and control of your direct marketing channels, especially your hotel website.
Finally, how can people get in touch with you?
We have a “follow the sun” business model, so someone, somewhere, is always available to speak to you at any time of day. The best numbers to reach us on are on our website: www.siteminder.com.