SOTA Rebrands With More Offerings

By: Rajina Dhillon, Malaysia

Malaysia – Travel buffs now have access to a new portal to make travel plans easier, with the launch of the newly rebranded online travel portal,

SOTA, short for Smart Online Travel Assistant, was developed by Creative Advances Technology (CAT) who announced the new brand identity behind it in line with its objective of making travel packages worldwide more accessible to users online.

Previously known as "Standard Online Tourism Architecture", the rebrand involved a change in the logo and look and feel of the travel portal with more consumer-targeted messaging.

"When we launched SOTA in 2009, our objective then was to attract more travel agents to bring their travel businesses online. Now that we have a solid participation from the travel industry, we want to move to the new phase of being able to strongly connect with the consumers in the growing travel market," said Rohizam Md Yusoff, CEO of CAT.

With J1 Consulting as its public relations agency, the rebranding was done by M&C Saatchi, while media is handled by Mediavest.

The rebranding exercise took two months and cost RM1 million, with another RM1 million allocated for promotional activity for the rest of the year.

With 60% to 70% of its marketing execution focused online, its marketing plans include print and radio commercials as well as social media and search engine marketing to run from May till October.

SOTA is also running a mid-year school holiday promotional campaign till 31 May, launched simultaneously with the rebrand.

"The objective is to get more travellers to participate and also to educate them about what we're doing. SOTA is not a new brand but we haven't really got into the traveller's market. When we go out there and say SOTA, they probably don't know what it is. So now we want them to be aware that this is the first thought before they travel," added Yusoff.

He explains that what sets SOTA apart from other sites like Agoda is the fact that the latter is a single provider, while SOTA is a multiple provider.

"We have packages and hotels, but not flights at the moment. That's because there are a lot of systems in flights that keep on changing. We don't want to put something that confuses consumers. At the moment, they are still going directly to the airlines themselves. We would rather focus on packages and hotels."

With the packages being provided via SOTA, local travel agents on board are Aspen holidays, AF Travels, Nanyang Travels and many others. It has 800 local independent travel agents and 600 global ones.

May 17, 2012