BridgeStreet is that rare transformative business that most every company in the hospitality space aspires to.
Ten year ago it was one more European serviced apartment companies.
Today, BridgeStreet it's a viable option for the growing number of businesses that offer staff alternative accommodations as a lodging option for corporate travel.
With inventory of more than 90,000 serviced apartments and homes in 80 countries, BridgeStreet has quickly become a player in the OTA space in less than three years.
But this week, BridgeStreet President and CEO Sean Worker and his team feel they further cemented that industry position when they joined SiteMinder’s network of 350-plus distribution channels.
Already present on RaterTiger and RentalUnited, Worker calls it “mission critical” to work with channel managers in order to conform and to be validated by them as a legitimate and polyvetted technology platform.
But SiteMinder, he says, is “one of the top five channel managers in hospitality globally and so for us to be connected on this platform is a milestone for the industry.”
For SiteMinder, the relationship with BridgeStreet is also a boon, further strengthening the cloud platform’s own standing as a partner to the hospitality industry with reach across all segments of the business or in the words of Bernhard Ballin, SiteMinder’s vice president, enterprise – the Americas, literally every accommodation provider, from small, family-run guesthouses to some of the powerhouses among hotel brands and chains.
“Our partnership with BridgeStreet is very simply about tapping further into one of hospitality’s truly niche markets."
Already the partnership has born fruit as London serviced apartment operator Go Native is the first client to feature its live inventory on BridgeStreet via SiteMinder, joining the likes of BridgeStreet early adopter OneFineStay.
Smaller entities also list inventory with the OTA for much the same reason these big names do; BridgeStreet’s audience is highly targeted and the platform successfully overcomes hospitality’s long-held objection to AirBnB, namely the distinct lack of duty of care.
BridgeStreet takes full ownership for each booking as the merchant and supplier of record. Stays of seven nights or more are guaranteed so guests receive keys and a clean, tech-enabled space as well as contact details for BridgeStreet staff should they have any issues, eliminating “hosts” from the mix.
“Guests can call BridgeStreet and get a response just as they would from a hotel operator.
“Travel managers and employees can easily book BridgeStreet accommodations with peace of mind.”
BridgeStreet’s suppliers benefit from the direct demand driven by BridgeStreet’s global sales managers; the OTA’s platform is built on the backbone of state-of-the-art technology, but also includes a traditional sales force in the mix rather than relying solely on site optimization, SEO and PPC.
But SiteMinder’s 26,000 customers by and large fall into the category of traditional hotels and many distribution channels don’t allow stays of 30-days or longer –the bread and butter of BridgeStreet’s business.
According to Worker, the OTA will accept bookings for as long as four years.
So for BridgeStreet, the partnership with SiteMinder represents potential access to suppliers who share a common guest with the OTA: the extended-stay hotel segment.
“The majority of our bookings are for seven nights or more and this segment has the inventory and the experiences that service our audience."
However, he also points out that the serviced apartment and home sector is already well established outside of the US and Go Native is just one example of how this segment is also leveraging channel managers to promote and distribute their product.
And, therein lies the benefit for SiteMinder, which now has that much more reason to attract suppliers of this style of accommodations into their client mix.
“It’s because of technology that every type of accommodation has been able to be visible in places they’ve never been before, to open themselves to new audiences, and to broaden their business mix for a far more profitable outcome.
“It’s one thing to want to reach consumers; it’s another to be able to actually do that, and so our partnership with BridgeStreet is just another example of how technology is driving forward an industry that’s otherwise often resistant to change.”
Hitting the mainstream - nothing alternative about alternative accommodation now
BridgeStreet unveils OTA for business travel community
Loft image by Aaron Huber