We talked to Melanie Meador of Redeam on how the firm is helping tours and attractions grow their business.
First of all, how are you and your family doing in these COVID-19 times?
Melanie Meador: I have had my ups and downs during this global pandemic, as we all have. Prior to the lockdowns, I traveled extensively for work, and obviously, that has come to a screeching halt. Immediately before the lockdown, I was actually in Berlin, NYC, and San Francisco (three epicenters of early outbreaks), so I was concerned about potentially bringing the virus back to some of my high-risk relatives, so we took precautions before most. Since that time, we’ve had a number of exposure scares, but the main issue is the devastating impact that COVID has had on our entire travel industry, the industry my company serves because it directly affects our business and me as its leader. Regardless, I have not lost my conviction for travel, building high-quality technology, and confidently know that travel will rebound. Our activities and attractions ecosystem will be better for it.
Tell us about you, your career, how you joined Redeam.
Melanie Meador: I am a 20-year veteran of the travel industry with a track record of building and growing successful, prosperous teams. Redeam’s Board of Directors chose me to take over the company from the founding CEO. At the time, Redeam had a single product that had a finite lifecycle. My past experience included evolving hotel distribution online, global expansion and distribution, and technical solutions for the hotel industry. This experience was directly transferrable to the industry Redeam serves in the Things to Do and Experiences sector. It was my vision to expand Redeam from a hardware-based product to a SaaS solutions provider, digitally connecting the very fragmented ecosystem that is today’s “Things To Do” sector.
How does Redeam innovate?
Melanie Meador: Our industry is still very analog, so even our basic solution is ahead of its time for our sector. The kinds of innovations we bring are primarily triggered by trying to solve our customers’ problems in a way that helps them become more digitized and streamlined. Oftentimes, solving a problem for one customer can be applied to many customers. So we have a lot of conversations, ask a lot of questions, and try our best to hear what’s not being said as much as what is being said. We’re fixers, and we are solution-oriented and align ourselves to deliver best in class solutions to the industry and our partners.
How the coronavirus pandemic affects your business, and how are you coping?
Melanie Meador: Coronavirus has affected every single aspect of our business: it has decimated our entire industries, closing many attractions, or limiting their capacity for endless stretches of time. Some in our industry have completely shuttered their businesses. This, of course, means constriction for us as well. In the early days of the lockdown, we were projecting zero revenues for the duration of the year to be conservative and responsible. That meant we had to get our burn under control by slashing expenses and ultimately reducing headcount. We canceled our office lease and made ourselves 100% remote. For a time, all the leadership salaries were reduced substantially. All the while, we’ve had to keep our team motivated and focused on our long-term vision.
Did you have to make difficult choices, and what are the lessons learned?
Melanie Meador: Yes, all of what I disclosed above was difficult, though some choices were more obvious. The Number One lesson — that was really a belief reinforced by reality — was the company culture’s importance to keep the wheels moving. When the going got tough, everyone rallied together, pulled their weight, and soldiered through. I truly believe teams show their value during the tough times, and we excelled. Knowing the whole of our industry — and the world, for that matter — was going through similar challenges helped give us all perspective. At least we were persevering and would continue to do so for as long as circumstances permitted. The other lesson that was reinforced was the importance of surrounding myself with other great leaders — people with subject matter expertise in their own right so that I could focus on the crises at hand and have the confidence that the daily operations would still move forward the way they needed to and maintaining the commitment we made to our partners.
How do you deal with stress and anxiety? How do you project yourself and Redeam in the future?
Melanie Meador: I deal with stress and anxiety in a number of ways: I meditate. I exercise. I try to do creative projects. I spend time outdoors with my family and my dogs. My true peace is being in the ocean, but since I’m land-locked in the middle of the country and unable to travel at this time, that wasn’t possible. So did what I’ve so often had to do in my life and career: I had to adapt, just as many other people have had to do during these difficult times. I am confident that Redeam is going to come out ahead of the curve as we emerge from the pandemic. In a strange twist of fate, the pandemic has helped accelerate our analog industry’s adoption curve at the very time when our solutions are coming of age. Redeam solves problems that previously our sector wasn’t necessarily willing to address: Digitization. Automation. Mobile solutions. Touchless technology. Redeam is now a pioneering leader in our sector for providing these kinds of solutions. Our investors see Redeam’s value, and they continue to support and fund us.
Who are your competitors? And how do you plan to stay in the game?
Melanie Meador: Redeam has very few actual competitors because, unlike some other companies dabbling in our space, we are really the only one that’s agnostic, meaning not owned by another technology provider that could cause a conflict of interest. Redeam’s “agnosticity” has helped us win huge deals, and thanks to our expert technical team, we have the reputation of providing best-in-class solutions. That’s a winning combination, and thanks to it, we now have customers coming to us instead of the other way around.
Your final thoughts?
Melanie Meador: Adversity always presents an opportunity. Survivors will see and find ways to capitalize on that opportunity. Survivors will be the next Winners.
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