Skip to Main Content

News SPOTLIO: Helping Resorts Find the Sweet Spot Between Custom and Off-the-Shelf Booking Experiences

screenshot collage of spotlio customers

photo of the author Gregg Blanchard

 May 11, 2021

As part of Insight Online 2021, we’re highlighting some of the incredibly supportive sponsors who have made this year’s event possible.

If you’ve ever attended an Inntopia conference in the past, you’ve surely heard of SPOTLIO or met their co-founder and CEO, Albert Ferrando. Albert and his team are trusted by a long list of incredible resorts and destinations to strike the balance between a fully-custom booking experience and an off-the-shelf solution. And for good reason, they’ve not only developed a powerful platform, but one that delivers impressive results.

SPOTLIO has always had a fresh batch of improvements to share at our conference and this year is no exception. We sat down with Albert to learn a bit more about their story and what’s next for their team, company, and products.

Albert, for those of you who haven’t had the pleasure of meeting you in person, tell us a little bit about yourself and the road that led to SPOTLIO?

I am from Barcelona, born and bred. I am married with three kids, so they keep me pretty busy. I love mountain biking, swimming, and eating a healthy Mediterranean diet. I am a graduate in software engineering which I studied at EPFL in Lausanne, Switzerland. I’ve always been passionate about all things mobile, especially leveraging mobile technology to help businesses achieve their goals.

Before founding SPOTLIO, I held a variety of technical and product management positions within the technology sector working in Switzerland, Austria and Spain. In these positions I focused on building sales platforms and SaaS initiatives which was great preparation for setting up SPOTLIO.

Let’s dig into the SPOTLIO side of your story. Where did that idea come from and how did you get it off the ground?

SPOTLIO was created in 2012 after we identified early on that the mobile revolution was going to happen, and that it would happen at pace. With my background in the ski industry and SaaS tech, I was ideally positioned to help mountain destinations get ready to leverage mobile tech effectively.

Initially, we started out developing quality mobile destination apps, which we still do today. But, back then the OTA’s were growing rapidly and starting to dominate by offering a better online customer experience and investing heavily in their online presence. So, many destinations quickly found themselves playing catch up.

That’s where SPOTLIO really found its mojo. We developed a world-class direct booking layer that leverages the power of Inntopia to help destinations win more direct booking customers.

Great companies like SPOTLIO all solve a key pain point. What is that pain point you and your team are really trying to address?

Growing online sales in the travel industry is challenging. Customers want to book multiple products, sometimes from multiple suppliers, and they want to do it all in one place offering a single checkout and offering all the information they need. This was the pain point that we went for. Helping destinations offer their customers a single page, single checkout experience online where they could book lodgings, rentals, lessons and even flights; and we’re doing it.

For example, Skibig3 came to us wanting to grow their online direct sales and reduce the amount of call centre assistance that customers needed to book with them. When they came to us they were doing about 70% through their call centres and 30% online. Now, with SPOTLIO’s help, they are doing 92% online with only 8% going through their call centres.

screenshot of booking calendar

That’s really impressive. What’s the secret? What is SPOTLIO doing that others don’t or can’t?

We believe SPOTLIO creates solutions that hit the sweet spot between custom digital agency solutions, which are expensive to develop and maintain, and off the shelf solutions, that lack customization and flexibility.

For example, our Direct Booking Layer for Inntopia is highly customizable offering our partners a bespoke experience but with the proven functionality, affordability and ease of implementation that an off-the-shelf product would offer.

As you look back on these years since you started, what milestones or moments or clients stand out?

Honestly, quite a lot come to mind. Winning our first customer in the US in 2014, Copper Mountain, is right up there as a major watershed moment for SPOTLIO. Then, the start of our partnership with Whistler Blackcomb in 2016 was a big milestone; we helped them increase their online revenue by 40%.

Also, in 2018, going live with all 8 of the major resorts at Vail was one to remember. This pushed the revenue going through our Direct Booking Layer over the $150 million mark. Then, in 2019, adding Boyne to our portfolio of group partners meant that SPOTLIO now works with all four of the major mountain industry groups, Boyne, Vail, Alterra and Powdr.

That’s really impressive. One last question for you: What’s next? Is there anything new or exciting that SPOTLIO is working on?

We’re really excited at the moment with our new B2B Direct Booking Layer. It’s a product the industry has been asking for and it’s a game changer when it comes to working smarter and more cost effectively with your resellers and wholesalers.

Also, the release of our new B2C Direct Booking Layer this quarter which offers even faster response times and an improved UI/UX customer experience that’s comparable to the likes of Airbnb. And for mobile, we’ve got the new native direct booking layer that offers smartphone users a great customer experience. It will help our partners tap into the rapid growth of mobile commerce.

Our New, Free Book The Ultimate Guide to
Resort Marketing Automation

An illustrated guide to 18 campaigns that generate revenue, satisfaction, and loyalty.

screenshots of cover and pages from ultimate guide to resort marketing automation

Questions? Talk to a friendly Inntopian.

Whether you're just curious or want a closer look, we'd be happy to help.

the inntopia team celebrating a new campground client