First published on www.hotelnewsresource.com.
SiteMinder has excelled from its start-up phase of development to become a world-leading hotel technology provider, enabling properties across the globe to better manage their online distribution, connect with corporate business and set their rates. The company is also a powerful driver of direct bookings for hotels.
SiteMinder’s co-founder and managing director, Mike Ford, reveals the early beginnings of ‘TheBookingButton’ Internet booking engine and ‘Canvas’ hotel website creator, detailing their relationship and the unparalleled ways the technology has helped hotels achieve their business goals during SiteMinder’s lasting tenure.
SiteMinder’s initial goal was to help hoteliers optimise their distribution by making it easier for them to update their availability and rates on third-party sites like online travel agents. For Mike Ford, this quickly turned into a new source of ideas.
“We realised the hotel’s own website should be one of those prominent channels, working seamlessly, and being exposed to the same inventory the booking sites are.”
This would enable a hotel to have a powerful booking channel of their own that they could manage at the same time as third-party sites – without paying commission.
However, when SiteMinder investigated a path towards integrating with booking engines, the company didn’t find what it had hoped for, explains Mr Ford.
“When we began looking at booking engines to integrate with in 2007/08, we didn’t find much good product. Hotels were using difficult-to-navigate products that were hurting their conversion rates and a lot of them didn’t have the capability to integrate with us. That led us to think ‘if we can’t find any good product to integrate with, we should probably build it for our customers ourselves’.”
It was this dedication to customer service and quality development that spawned TheBookingButton, a product that is now a core element of the SiteMinder business.
“We ended up building a booking engine that was simple to manage, but really effective in converting guests that visit a hotel website. Originally it was for the independent market, but we’ve rapidly increased the capabilities of the product. We have some significant hotel groups using our booking engine now and its features are quite advanced,” says Mr Ford.
You can read the full intereview with Mike Ford on www.hotelnewsresource.com.