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SiteMinder: low-cost carriers fuel hotel booking boom

September 25, 2013 Corporate, Headline News No Comments Email Email

egtmedia59Global online distributor SiteMinder is growing fast globally. As Erik Munoz, the company’s Executive Director, Strategic Sales and Global Partnerships observes, “hotels are signing up in droves”.

A global corporation that develops cloud-based technology to help the accommodation industry market its rooms online, SiteMinder has offices in London, Dallas, Sydney, Bangkok and Cape Town. Around 10,000 accommodation providers in over 105 countries use its suite of products. SiteMinder helps distribute rooms online and boost online revenue.

Commenting on SiteMinder’s rapidly growing client acquisitions, Munoz, a London-based Australian, says the company has “about 9000 hotel customers today – but in the last 12 months we have added 4000. So we have roughly doubled as a business in that time”.

Erik Munoz

Erik Munoz

SiteMinder is making news around the world. Last month in Texas, the Dallas Business Journal in Texas noted: “Australian-based online hotel booking engine SiteMinder has selected Dallas as the host of its North and South American headquarters.”

Most of SiteMinder’s hotels are located in major gateway locations, Munoz says.

“Where there’s a major airport like Sydney, Melbourne or London, for example, those hotels will almost always need GDS connectivity, and we offer GDS connectivity.

“Most of our customers would be on a GDS type of connection. The big driver for a lot of these bookings is not just corporate travel, which primarily books through GDS, but the online travel agents (OTAs).”

Gateway locations tend to be served by low-cost carriers (LCCs) and these budget airlines are driving much travel growth, Munoz says. The so-called BRIC nations (Brazil, Russia, India and China) loom large in driving major travel and hotel growth.

“You also have to include Indonesia. Thailand has always had a lot of new hotel product coming up and Thailand has benefited on two fronts: they’ve got the European summer market coming for their holidays; also the Australian outbound traveller is heading into Thailand in big numbers.”

OTAs, often regional in their focus, are growing in conjunction with LCCs.

“We’re seeing a big shift in where consumers are travelling – that applies locally in Australia just as it does with the Brazilians and Russians, and travellers from India and China as well. There’s lots of macro-economic growth and LCCs are very much part of that. Look at Jetstar and Virgin, which can get us across to Asia cheaper than flying to Perth.”

Just as Australians are trying Hawaii, Bali or Phuket, rather than opting for Cairns or other domestic points, so Brazilians are discovering the joys of flying to North America.

“You got all these pockets of activity,” Munoz explains. “We’re an Australian company so we been strong in Australia and the Pacific and in New Zealand for quite some time. But we’ve added a lot of hotel customers in London, Barcelona, Madrid and of course Bali, Phuket and Singapore. They are what I would call more long-haul destinations. When people from Australia travel to Phuket of Bali, it’s not an overnight stay. It’s four to five nights minimum.  So all of that goes to push up the average value of a booking.”

In the South East Asian region, Munoz notes, “within two hours striking distance of either Singapore or Kuala Lumpur, you’ve got 20 different destinations. A lot of South East Asians are travelling. Whether they are locals or expatriates, they are travelling within that region for as little as $10 or $15 a trip, if they book at the right time.  And again, that’s going to benefit the hotels.”

Written by : Peter Needham

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