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Entering the Indonesian tourism market post-pandemic.

Marketing

SiteMinder - The Client

SiteMinder is a technology company offering an e-commerce platform that allows hotels to sell their rooms on their own websites and through third parties like online travel agencies.

SiteMinder already has a presence in Indonesia and understood the opportunity in the country to their interest, knowing that Indonesia is trying to recover it's tourism economy, plus, as the representative of the non-G20 country, due to the pandemic, Indonesia is launching it's campaign to recover stronger in the G20 platform in November 2022.

The Objective

SiteMinder's central objective was to reactivate its brand in the market now that international tourism was returning to the country. Our approach to helping them achieve this goal was to actively engage with key industry stakeholders including hotel association bodies, hoteliers and travel industry enthusiasts through a series of media opportunities and a roundtable discussion. A central conversation that was happening amongst this audience of stakeholders was the challenges the industry faced during the pandemic, and what the post-pandemic traveling industry looked like for Indonesia. With the approach of the G20 in Bali, Bali was the perfect place to directly engage with this group of Individuals and spark media conversation that would have a national reach.

SiteMinder's core selling point was their strong brand awareness already in Indonesia as well as the fact that they are a leading e-commerce platform that allows hotels to sell their rooms on their own website and through third parties like Agoda, Booking.com, Airbnb, Tiket.com, and others.

So, how do you enter a market in a post-pandemic economy in the tourism industry?

When we accepted the opportunity, we knew that this project would be a challenging due to the current economic situation in Bali and Indonesia broadly. It was one of the worst places that got hit by the tourism sector knowing that 80% of Bali's economy is tourism driven.

So - we set the expectation clear, however, we did 2 months of market research for SiteMinder, and the result was that the Industry was coming back slowly. Bali, now, more than ever is one of the most desirable places to travel to, especially from its closest neighbor, Australia.

With that in hand, Jesse, one of my business partners in itchi digital, put together a strategic positioning plan for SiteMinder Indonesia and how to re-enter the market and re-engage. Here are a few of the strategies that we put in place and successfully executed;

Industry Event Marketing

We suggested an in-person event for SiteMinder which offered a lot of opportunities to gain media coverage and industry recognition.

Roundtable Discussion - Early Post Pandemic

An in-person event in Bali, for the industry, was long awaited. So it’s only right for SiteMinder to move forward with the idea, and to gauge the response of their brand in Indonesia. The event was a success, with over 90% attendance list of 114 participants (hoteliers, General Managers, media, key industry leaders).

Irvan Widyanata Lathief & The Guest
Transhotel, Sunset Road and the speakers.
Doorprize Announcement

Public Relations

Challenges;

  1. Post-pandemic economy, business is reluctant to move with any major investment.
  2. The industry had been hit so badly, it creates a lot of doubt and tip-toeing in crafting communication strategy and driving narratives.

Solutions;

  1. By providing platforms like the events above, SiteMinder positioned itself at the top of its potential customer’s mind.
  2. We disseminated the narrative and intensified its communication for SiteMinder and managed to gain over $380,000USD ++ in PRV and $40,000USD ++ in AVE.
  3. We worked directly with the Regional Manager for APAC to provide media training for a series of interview's with media and feature articles.
  4. We launched messaging around their recent acquisition of GuestJoy to national media in Indonesia.
  5. We released a series of byline articles talking about the trends in the post-pandemic travel industry to key industry media.

Impact;

  1. Aside from re-igniting its brand awareness country-wide, Itchi Digital managed to help SiteMinder to enter the market post-pandemic and establish a relationship with Bali Hotel Association & The Tourism Board.
  2. SiteMinder is starting to gain more quality leads in its funnel to bring in sales from Indonesia, and solidify its decision in having stronger support and a sales team in the country.

🗞️ Here are some of the articles we helped disseminate for the client;

  1. Hotel-hotel di Indonesia Kini Kembali Kebanjiran Reservasi dari Turis Asing
  2. Hotel-hotel Indonesia Dibanjiri Reservasi Wisatawan Asing
  3. SiteMinder Gelar Diskusi Perhotelan di Bali, Ini yang Mereka Bahas
  4. Akuisisi GuestJoy, SiteMinder Perluas Layanan Platform
  5. SiteMinder Perluas Platform Komersial Hotel Melalui GuestJoy
  6. Destinasi Pariwisata Indonesia Semakin Dilirik Wisman, Ini Faktanya
  7. Pariwisata Indonesia Kembali Ramai, Reservasi dari Wisatawan Internasional Meningkat
  8. Indonesia hotels experience spike in international bookings

Digital Marketing

With a demographic of high-level decision makers, SiteMinder needed to be very practical in approaching their potential leads. With the post-pandemic economy, we suggested running digital tangible promotions that would provide value to their target audience.

We crafted a few different messages ranging from; discounts right after the Roundtable Event Discussion, followed by Unique Value Proposition messaging, and then we conclude the campaign with user-generated content like testimonials aiming to cultivate social confidence in the user’s buying state.

campaign by itchi digital
campaign by itchi

📌 We did the campaign in both English, and Indonesia, knowing the landscape of CEO, General Managers of Hotels in Bali are mixed of Locals and Foreigners.

Results;

We reached over 1,8 million impressions with 13k clicks. The key learning of this campaign is that understanding the local context of the demographic’s behavior will set your campaign budget in a more effective direction.

So, what does it take for a B2B company to enter the Indonesian market in summary?

  1. Have a strong understanding of the current economy and come up with a strong narrative that drives a desirable/long-awaited story and ideas. This will set you for a head start in your market entry strategy for Indonesia.
  2. Work on the seamless experience of your brand, meaning; For SiteMinder, a huge event that was longed for, followed by online presence, and be in every single news distribution to create effective brand awareness throughout your campaign.
  3. Work with a local expert that has a deep knowledge of the context, and be flexible in how you approach the new territory. Cost-efficient might not always be the best option. The cultural difference should be on top of your head, in how you enter a new market.

So that’s all. Do you think that this helps you understand what it takes to enter Indonesian Market for your business?

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