We’re living in a completely connected, on-demand world. Technology has changed almost every aspect of how we live. Our apps allow immediate access to goods and services at the swipe of a finger, empowering the consumer to have virtually anything-on-demand.
The “I-want-it-now” consumer is also transforming established business structures, changing relationships between employees, creating operational risks and causing disruption to nearly every aspect of a business.
Hoteliers have kept pace with innovation when it comes to single room reservations by integrating with third-party sites and smart apps to create better customer experiences. The consumer can book an entire trip, including bedrooms, within minutes, but not a meeting room.
‘Booking direct’ rather than through third-party sites is a trend embraced by hotels, allowing for more control, better margins and possibly better deals for consumers. Hoteliers need to move beyond the single room reservation and apply on-demand bookings to every meeting space and business customer they touch.
Hotels now have the opportunity to provide their customers with instant meeting bookings, before third-party intermediaries take the lead. Shifting customer demands, industry expectations and fluctuating revenue streams will demand acceptance of this new technology.
What’s driving change?
The current process for booking a meeting space is too complex, inefficient, and layered with too many touchpoints. Consumers searching online can find some meeting spaces, but when they try to book the space, they cannot.
They’re faced with “Get a Quote” or “Submit Enquiry” buttons. They think, “Is this going to work?” So, they send enquiries to a dozen different venues, hoping someone will respond with something that will work. The hotels and venues risk pushing away their own customers.
This broken booking process plus the changing consumer expectations have increased the demand for booking online. Consumers and corporate meeting planners want more control and access from their own devices.
Technology now exists that allows hoteliers to offer direct bookings with low cost, zero commission rates and real-time access to the pricing and availability to complete the booking online right then and there.
Digital, on-demand sourcing and direct access to supply provide a path to more efficient and timely meeting planning. The customer demand is there and the technology can accommodate it. The challenge continues to be the ability and willingness of hotels to offer space and rates that allow for instant bookings.
Hotels offering smart sourcing tools will gain a competitive edge by facilitating quicker proposal responses, one-click reservations, feedback in real-time with the ability to optimise rates. New technology will accelerate an industry reliant on taking a tactical approach by automating procedures causing delays and a loss in revenue.
Meeting professionals want to speed up the booking process
Meeting planners are asked to plan more meetings with shorter lead times and with smaller budgets. Margins are being squeezed as hotels reduce commissions. Time is money and meeting planners need to find ways to control costs and boost profitability.
Planners no longer have time to visit on-site, they prefer to research space online. They’re also increasingly younger and more digitally adept, valuing instant results over human interaction. A recent study conducted by Group Travel indicates that over 75% of proposals are won by one of the first five properties to respond.
Hotel consolidation is driving new behaviours
Hotels across the globe have consolidated resulting in several of the largest chains investing in technology that shifts consumer expectations.
Meeting planners are already responding by sourcing hotels such as Marriott, Hilton and Hyatt for group sales because they offer meetings on demand. They no longer want to send RFPs to evaluate and wait for responses to small meetings. Without a tool to book meetings online, hotels could be losing business to neighbouring brands.
Hotels can set a new standard of direct bookings for meetings.
The industry missed an opportunity in the early 90s when they gave too much power and cntol to the OTAs by listing guest rooms before their own channels. Technology and industry expectations have resulted in third-party booking platforms starting to emerge to address this gap in the market.
Don’t be left behind. Don’t wait for third-party booking systems to capture those 15 to 25 percent commissions and customer relationships.
Learn why a direct booking solution for meetings is necessary and the steps you can take to implement one today. Get started with Kiva