At a time when talent is hard to find in the hotel industry and teams are running at a reduced level, Reiimagine has changed the way hotels do sales by offering its services via a flat monthly retainer as opposed to the commission-based structure the industry historically has used.
Although the company launched during the pandemic, Cofounders Elaine Macy and Penny Wing came up with the concept before COVID started spreading.
“We realized small independent boutique hotels did not have the financial or sales capabilities to meet the very high net-worth luxury clients and they could not compete with major brands,” said Macy, who serves as partner of the company. “Our main intention was to ‘reiimagine’ the future of luxury boutique hotel business while designing innovative ideas to support the services needed by the hotels while also connecting to the right clients. That is the meaning behind the two “ii’s” in Reiimagine—innovative ideas! Reiimagine established a business model that is cost-effective, affordable and commission-free, in order to help its clients with limited funds stretch their marketing dollars further.”
Both Macy and Wing, who serves as the company’s CEO, had previous experience working as commission-based employees. The former served nearly 20 years at Preferred Hotel Group as EVP, global group sales before founding Reiimagine.
“We have always seen the hotel business as a commission-based representation business,” Macy noted. “After working for more than 15 years in that format and always chasing commissions, we wanted to be a total extension of the in-house sales and marketing teams, connecting the luxury properties with their desired clients, while being paid a flat monthly fee so that they consider us a partner and lead generator. Instead of working between the client and hotel, we work to connect the client and hotel as a direct connect. We feel there is a need for this niche.”
Once a client signs on with Reiimagine, Macy noted, a meeting is set up to design a strategy for the markets the client wishes to target.
“We naturally focus on their important needs and KPIs, but we like to reach beyond and offer additional opportunities to enhance their sales and marketing initiatives and outreach,” she said. “During the onboarding process, we integrate the client with our global sales team and take time to learn the unique property characteristics. Each team member meets with their counterpart to discuss their market individually. Finally, we deliver a strategic plan to address needs in particular markets. Throughout our partnership, we hold regular meetings to update the plan and confirm changing conditions and goals.”
The company also has alliance partners that provide sales enhancement like Cvent training and revenue management assistance. “All services are provided at a special low cost for collection in order to enhance the relationship experience and increase the destination experience and appeal,” noted Macy.
Clients will also have access to the Brojure digital marketing software, which Wing founded. “Brojure is a unique, smart, cloud-based digital marketing software that will make your storytelling come to life,” said Macy. “Brojure got started at Google headquarters in London with the inspiration to create a mini, digital, Vogue-like magazine for the travel industry while already servicing other industries.”
One would think that launching a company during a pandemic was not the smartest idea but Reiimagine thrived because “hotels laid-off sales members and we supplemented the sales team offering these properties 10 experienced luxury connectors on a global basis for one-third of the price of an experienced salesperson,” said Macy, adding, “We also made alliances with the right partners to provide virtual events and continually delivered brand awareness while continuing front-of-mind messaging. We have also partnered with Sharecare, a division of Forbes Travel Group, to provide health and wellness certification for our properties.”
Reiimagine, at the time of this writing, has signed contracts with 36 properties in 19 months, including hotels in the U.S., Canada, Mexico, Europe, Africa, Asia and the Caribbean. Macy noted, “In the U.S, we are proud to have the iconic Watergate Hotel in DC; the new Mountain Shadows Resort in Arizona; the Stein Eriksen Lodge in Utah; and The Ranch at Laguna Beach, to name a few.”
Macy is hopeful for the future of her company. “The team is very enthusiastic about this niche, and we are certain that our unique business model will grow to become even more important as travel increases,” she said. “Our collection includes unique islands, private pool villas and small, one-of-a-kind luxury properties, and the support system to create a personal experience for today’s multi-generational traveler in all market segments.”