Sonder targets Corporate Travel with GDS and TMC Deals

Sonder, a provider of apartment-style accommodations, now has its inventory available on three global distribution systems through a third party provider. The company also announced that it had partnered with several travel management firms and consortia to grow its corporate travel business.

Sonder has TMC partners in Egencia, TripActions, and Sonder is currently in discussion to add additional, according to Sonder VP for sales Kristen Richter. Richter told BTN that Sonder was originally hired by Radisson Hotel Group Americas in September to help build Sonder’s sales team, and to bring corporate travel sales experience.

Richter stated that Sonder employs 26 members of its sales team and they “certainly understand the complexity of GDS channels.” We are currently in growth mode. We have the responsibility of building Sonder’s corporate sales department. Our focus is on corporate transient, group, and corporate housing. We are looking for growth in all these areas, which have a corporate flavour. Right now our focus is on corporate travel.

Richter said that Sonder didn’t suddenly realize the importance of growing its corporate segment. It currently represents about 20% of their business. However, it is clear that corporate travel offers a huge opportunity.

Richter stated, “Especially after coming out of Covid. Our model and product make sense to corporate travel.” Our top priorities include cleanliness, affordability and location. The product category we offer has more space to work from home, fully-equipped kitchens, and washer/dryer.

Sonder, like other short-term renters, relies on technology for guests to have a touchless experience. Its mobile app allows guests to make reservations, book and request late or early check-in. The company also offers a 24/7 concierge service.

Richter was “hilarious” by the business generated and the bookings received since the GDS connections were officially launched in March. “We are seeing momentum,” she said, and the timing coincides with the upcoming annual requests-for-proposals season. We are working with partners in order to gain access to [corporate] programs, and respond to RFPs as they arrive.

Some short-term rental agencies struggled through the pandemic, and some even quit the market like Stay Alfred, Domio, and Lyric. Sonder announced in May plans to become public through Gores Metropoulos II, a special purpose acquisition company with a $2.2 billion valuation. Richter reports that the average occupancy rate of the company is around 70%. This was achieved and sustained during the pandemic. According to Richter, the company has more than 350 properties across 35 countries in America, Canada, Europe and Mexico City. It plans to open new locations in Paris in 2021, Charleston, S.C. and Amsterdam in 2021, as well as Glasgow, Glasgow, Paris and Glasgow in 2021, according to an investor presentation.

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Publiated at Wed. 28 July 2021 23.44:27 +0000

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