There are few better domain names for an aspirational travel brand than Explore.com, but one company is now moving away from that domain.
Explore.com was acquired by The Tiki Tour Group in April 2017, purchased from the Future Media Architects domain portfolio. It was subsequently developed into its own brand with ambitions to rival the likes of Booking.com.
The Tiki Tour Group, which also operates sites such as Jasons.com, released a press release in 2017 announcing the company’s acquisition of Explore.com. In the press release, the founders noted,
“Explore.com carries greater recognition globally, with ‘Explore’ you think, adventure, journey, discovery, already you associate Explore.com with travel. To add further legitimacy to their brand, securing the .COM domain was an important step to catapult their brand awareness with the international traveller. To compete against well-recognized brands such as Booking.com and AirBnB.com, this was a strategic move to build trust and recognition with travelers who are browsing for booking options online.”
It sounds like the domain was a well-reasoned purchase, but just over five years on, the company is rebranding.
Explore.com is changing its name to Smartie. Naturally, it is also moving from the Explore.com domain to Smartie.com.
DomainIQ Whois history suggests this was a recent purchase for The Tiki Tour Group. The rebrand has also been marked with a change of business focus, as laid out in an announcement,
Our customers, which include local Pacific Islanders, businesses and visitors to our shores, now need us for more than just accommodation bookings. Sending, spending and receiving money has just been too expensive, slow, and inconvenient. This has been due to services that use, what we like to call, museum technology. We’re fixing that for people and businesses by utilizing smart technology through smartphones and the web to now bring you a Super App.
The Smartie super app is the South Pacific’s All-In-One Solution utilizing an instant payments platform to provide financial freedom through multiple products and services in a single app using smart technology.
I think that Explore.com is generic enough to be able to pivot from one business focus to another, but did the company receive an offer for Explore.com that prompted the rebrand? Sometimes companies will sell a key domain name and take the time to rebrand or move domain names if another business comes in with an offer. This was the case in August 2022 when Fetch Delivery sold Fetch.com, shifting to FetchDelivery.com in the process.
Throughout September 2022, the Explore.com domain’s Whois data updated several times. While all of this went on under Whois privacy protection, the stealth activity, which was noticed thanks to the regular “updated” status changes, may suggest the domain is in the process of being sold. That’s highly speculative, but it is one possible explanation for the rebrand.
Regardless, Explore.com is a tremendously valuable asset.