South by Southwest Looks North for Housing Technology
Vancouver-based Meetingmax selected by renowned festival to provide hotel reservation software
Vancouver, BC; February 24, 2014 – In keeping with its mission to support industry innovators, South by Southwest (SXSW) has signed a contract with Meetingmax Systems, provider of the travel industry’s most flexible online housing reservation system. Through the agreement, Meetingmax’s online accommodation platform will handle hotel room bookings for SXSW’s roster of events and conferences. The companies expect the system to process more than $15 million in hotel transactions during the first year.
The Canadian company’s technology has gained popularity in the United States amongst meeting planners, conference organizers, and convention and visitors bureaus (CVBs), however this agreement marks the first time Meetingmax will work with an annual festival on the scale of SXSW.
“Since 1987, SXSW has been a standard-bearer for independent business and independent thinkers," says Mike Shea, Executive Director, SXSW. "Meetingmax is cut from that same cloth and we think their housing technology is the right system at the right time."
Discussions between the two companies began in 2012 when SXSW started researching options to replace its previous system, developed internally more than 20 years ago. That software was not designed to handle the increasingly complex requirements of SXSW’s ever-growing line-up of events. After considering its options, including internally redeveloping the software, SXSW decided to engage Meetingmax.
“Meetingmax’s core competency matched exactly what we were looking for. They know housing inside and out,” says Michael Brown, Technical Project Manager, SXSW. “Rather than building a system with similar capabilities, working with Meetingmax means we know the system will function at the level it needs to. We’re now free to focus our energy on innovation in other areas.”
Recognized for its stability and ease of use, Meetingmax’s software also allows for customizable features. For SXSW this will mean special comprehensive billing and refund options and an integrated logic enabling the system to provide unique options to guests based on their role at the event. The housing technology began testing with smaller SXSW events starting in fall 2013, with the full launch projected for August 2014 with registration for the SXSW 2015 Austin conference.
“This contract is a long term, significant investment for Meetingmax and SXSW. Ensuring the fundamentals of our organizations aligned was important to both of us,” says Jeff Duncan, COO and Founder of Meetingmax. “It feels great to be working with a team that will benefit from our software and that also functions like ours in terms of goals and culture. We’re excited to develop this relationship in the years to come.”
First held in 1987 in Austin, TX, SXSW was founded as a conference and festival for the music industry but has since blossomed into a tool for creative people and organizations from different disciplines to share ideas. In 1994, SXSW added film and interactive components, and has since added events spotlighting education (SXSWedu), sustainability (SXSW ECO), and entrepreneurs (SXSW V2V). Today, the SXSW flagship event attracts more than 40,000 registrants to Austin every March, with a local economic impact calculated at more than $218 million in 2013.