‘Book Direct’ is the mantra of hoteliers this year, but it is one that must move beyond single room reservations and be applied to every meeting space and business customer you touch.
Hotels now have the opportunity to deliver real-time, online meeting bookings to their customers before third-party intermediaries take the lead. As we explore below, quickly shifting customer demands, industry expectations, and wavering bottom lines will demand this technology.
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 today and how you can implement one immediately.

1. Meetings are becoming smaller with no change in spend.

According to the 2017 Global Meetings and Events Forecast from American Express, meeting spend is forecast to grow only about 1% while the number of days allotted to each meeting remains stable. While this is largely due to security and political concerns, it suggests that meeting planners will be tightly managing budgets. The easier it is for them to see all information in real-time through an online booking platform, the more quickly they can gain approval and make a booking.

As one European expert explained, “Companies are trying to plan meetings that are smaller and more precise with fewer attendees focusing on one topic or objective for a meeting.”

2. Meeting professionals want to speed up the booking process.

Planners are asked to plan more meetings with shorter lead times and smaller budgets. They no longer have 100+ hours to visit sites – they are more comfortable researching spaces online. Planners are also increasingly younger and more digitally adept, valuing instant results over human interaction.

According to Social Tables, more than 50% of meeting planners say web is their primary channel to discover venues. Hotels can capture bookings and this category of group revenue by being more transparent on pricing and availability.

3. Hotel consolidation is driving industry norms.

Hotel consolidation is a global trend resulting in several massive chains being able to better invest in technology that shifts consumer expectations. Meeting planners today are already relying on online meeting booking provided by large chains such as Marriott and Hilton. They no longer see the point in sending RFPs and evaluating responses for small meetings.

Without a tool to book small meetings online, you could lose business to the neighboring brand.

Next Steps?

Inefficient platforms and a cultural hesitation to transition small meeting bookings to an automated transaction has slowed adoption for online direct booking.

Technology now exists however that allows hoteliers to offer direct bookings with low costs, zero commission rates and real-time access to information. But with third- party booking platforms emerging, the industry is at a critical crossroads.

Hotels have an opportunity to set a norm of direct bookings for meetings. The industry missed this opportunity in the early 90s when they listed guest rooms on OTAs before their own channels.

By first investing in a direct booking platform and later listing on OTAs, hotels have the time and space to encourage existing customers to book direct and capture their data for the future. Once loyal customers are set up, hotels can then list on OTAs to reach new customers and secure top-up bookings.

To learn more, download the white paper Why Your Hotel Needs a Direct Booking Solution. To learn more about Bookingtek and how we can help your hotel achieve a holistic booking strategy, contact sales@bookingtek.com.