Groups and Events: Disruption is on the Agenda for Hotels in 2019 | By Lauren Hall

In fact, it’s well documented that 75% of proposals are being won by the first five properties to respond and 37% of planners cite bad communication as the number one reason they go with another property during the proposal process. Rather than confirming bookings, sales managers are so often stuck in ‘process limbo’, scrambling to manually sift through and reply to an unrelenting influx of (largely unqualified) leads and RFPs in a timely manner. If it sounds like a somewhat impossible process, that’s because it is. Managers are expected to be quick and efficient as they work to identify and convert relevant leads — a demand which requires online technology that, for a very long time, didn’t exist.

    As a hotelier, you might wonder — why is this so integral to my revenue stream? We still manage to secure some group bookings, are we really missing out on much? With projections that the event tech market will grow to USD 9.28 billion by 2020, and 300 million room nights attributed to meetings in 2016, it’s hard to imagine it’s taken this long to streamline the group booking process. 300 room nights amounts to nearly $50 billion in confirmed bookings — which if you ask me, sounds like 50 billion very compelling reasons to care about the group and events segment.

    So, what does the future of group and events look like in the eyes of a hotelier and digital-savvy planner? Gone are the days of static “Groups and Meetings” sections on websites with an RFP form. Prospective customers and your staff alike need a more advanced, responsive and ultimately digital solution. After all, we are catering to the age of the online consumer, which means we, too, need to be online. Group planners (whether corporate, or an individual burdened with booking the next ‘girls trip’) need to access group booking details online — with rates, live availability, property rules, group communications and all other relevant details displayed through an easy to navigate, online platform. This enables global visibility for hotels, the opportunity for tailored marketing efforts, 3D tours of event space, instant RFPs, online payment and invoicing and live booking management.

    A process which was previously consumed with communication delays, misinformed inquiries and unqualified RFPs has finally been streamlined for both planners and hotels. Finally, hotels can effectively control rates and publish up-to-date availability online, which empowers sales managers to invest their time in the more pivotal touch points of the guest booking process. This inspires a more efficient, revenue-conscious process as planners are able to access the information they need more quickly than they would via phone or email, and sales teams are freed up from the dreaded RFP flood.

    With online group booking technology in place, planners are awarded the instant gratification of online booking, with access to all required attributes (audio visual, food, beverage etc.). This in turn, enables managers to focus on the provision of a more personalized, timely booking experience. After all, providing more attention to the details that do require personalized handling leads to extraordinary customer service and a better chance of repeat business.

    It’s about time, don’t you think, that group bookings caught up to modern demands? Finally, meeting and event spaces can be booked as seamlessly as a guest booking a room. Disruption is definitely on the agenda for hotels in 2019, and it’s headed straight for the groups and events segment. But this isn’t just any disruption, this is the long-awaited solution to a problem faced by hoteliers and planners for years. With a responsive online platform in place for the group booking segment, hotels are empowered to succeed and capitalize on a largely untapped revenue stream, whilst better appealing to and connecting with planners around the globe.

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    Brooke Harrison
    Phone: 61 7 5636 3755
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    IVvy Inc. offers meeting planners the ability to search, compare and book function space, catering and group accommodations online 24/7 by reviewing real-time availability, rates and inventory posted by venue operators, then manage events using an easy-to use, cloud-based platform and custom websites to attract and register attendees and manage their experience.

    IVvy provides conference centers, hotels, restaurants and cruise lines with an integrated revenue management and distribution platform to post availability, rates and inventory; manage inquiries and bookings on any device, anywhere; drive inbound revenue; and enhance reporting and visibility.

    IVvy serves over 12,000 users in 13 countries including Hyatt, Wyndham Hotel Group, Accor, Choice, Best Western and other leading hospitality groups; Air New Zealand, Voyager, Flight Center and other travel companies; BMW, KFC, Siemens, Rio Tinto, and other major corporations; government offices; associations; universities; and nonprofits.

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