(Ambrosio’s note: I’ve always been fascinated with anything that has to do with branding and design, so when I heard that MyDestinationInfo.com was undergoing a massive rebranding project, I wanted to learn more. Neil Waller and James Street, co-founders of the company, were gracious enough to share with me the inside scoop on this huge undertaking. I also learned more about their new hotel booking engine that leverages their local destination experts to offer special deals that visitors won’t find anywhere else. Have a look at their new logo and see what you think. For me, it’s very distinct and memorable – and a big improvement over the previous one. Two thumbs up!)
Franchise Chatter (FC): What was the reason behind your rebranding from MyDestinationInfo.com to simply MyDestination?
Neil Waller: James and I have felt for a long time that the brand name of MyDestinationInfo.com was going to be one of our biggest problems when it came to really starting to market and promote our business. It’s a very long name, which on countless occasions has been too much for people to easily remember. While on one hand it’s a name that makes sense because you swap the destination part of the name with the destination you want to get to, in reality people are not thinking like this.
James Street: In each destination, it was mylondoninfo.com, mysydneyinfo.com, and so on. This was quite confusing for the public as there are a lot of sites with slight variations of this name, like sydneyinfo.com, mysydney.com, sydneyinformation.com, etc. By branding everyone within the network as MyDestination, we are all working to promote the same name, which over time will be a lot more powerful than the individual name in each location. So rather than operating as MyMarbellaInfo.com, the website would now operate under MyDestination Marbella.
Neil: What one marketing/branding expert also quite rightly pointed out to us was that dropping the “info” will actually change the perception of the site. It’s a subconscious thing, but people won’t associate the site as just being an information resource, which is great timing with the launch of transactional products like the new hotel booking engine.
FC: Can you tell us the story behind your new logo?
James: We had a few versions of the logo and at the first instance we were worried that the word “my” was not as readable as we would have liked. However, we now call it the magic logo because the more you look at it the more you like it and now all I read is My Destination when I look at it.
Branding is an incredibly specialized area, and for that reason we wanted to use someone that specializes in this field. We chose Pali Palavathanan, who works for a very highly respected design consultancy in London and has a very impressive portfolio and CV.
He has produced rebrands for Virgin Atlantic, BFI (British Film Institute), The Science Museum, and Glenfiddich Malt Whisky. He has been a judge in the D&AD awards (think Oscars of the design industry). He has won accolades at The Art Directors Club of New York, the Design Week Awards, and has exhibited his work in Japan. We’ve been very excited to work with him throughout this process and feel that we now have a brand to work with, not just a logo.
FC: How does your new hotel booking engine work?
Neil: As local destination experts, we will offer locally sourced deals with hotels that offer great room rates with added local benefits (such as complimentary room upgrades, access to club floors, free breakfast, etc.) Users will be presented these deals, and bookings will be made through the MyDestination site. The stay will be guaranteed with a credit card but no payment will be taken — 100% of the payment will be made at the hotel and will have a standard cancellation policy. We are simply a bridge between the customer and the hotel, for which we earn a commission from the hotel after the stay.
We know people like to search around for the best deals and that can be time consuming. So when a user does a search, we not only show what we have available through our locally sourced deals, but we actually show the prices of lots of other major booking sites (Expedia, Hotels.com, Booking.com, etc). Should the user prefer to make a booking with one of these other sites, we even provide a hyperlink which will take them to that other booking site — and we earn an affiliate commission for the referral.
James: The local deals aspect of the booking engine will be added to the site in September, but the price comparison feature is now fully functional.
Neil: Revenues from the hotel booking engine are split evenly between MyDestination and the local franchisee.
We feel this delivers the best possible experience to the website user. It combines two business models: the model of a price comparison site, combined with the model of a booking site. No price comparison site will ever have locally sourced deals and no booking engine site will really ever be a price comparison site. We have the unique ability to offer the consumer the best of both worlds.
And the Possibilities are Endless…
- MyDestination: An Online Franchise Opportunity that Competes with Lonely Planet and Trip Advisor
- Franchise Chatter’s Exclusive Interview with James Street, Co-Founder of MyDestination
- MyDestination Franchisee Spotlight: Fay Jones (with Co-Owner Jessica White) of MyDestination Marbella
- Franchise Chatter’s Top 10 Franchises with the Best Business Models (and 1 with Possibly THE Worst)