The world of meeting planners is rapidly changing. Gone are the days of having 100+ hours to visit sites and are moving online to carry out their research. Planners are are being asked to plan more meetings with shorter lead times and smaller budgets. A faster planning process is therefore demanded.
Hotels that react to that demand by providing their customers with a booking process that is intuitive and fluid will come out on top.
Below we take a look at five key benefits a direct booking platform for meetings can offer hotels and its customers.
1. More holistic booking
Different customers prefer to book through different digital channels. Loyal customers want to book direct while other customers prefer to shop around or use a third-party platform to overcome language barriers. It therefore makes a lot of sense to introduce a direct booking channel that exists side-by-side third-party channels. A holistic booking approach that serves the needs of customers is born.
2. Improved booking experience
With a direct online booking channel, meeting planners can search, view, and pay for meetings online as well as manage them if they need to make any changes. A smoother booking journey that is completed in under 4 minutes means happier customers and more chance of them making a repeat booking.
3. Increased Revenue
A direct booking channel provides customers with all the information they need to book immediately. Meeting room pricing, availability, catering and equipment options is all at their fingertips. This increases efficiency hugely which is important given that planners are expected to handle the process themselves end-to-end. A simple booking process, alongside booking history and the ability to rebook a similar meeting in future, reduces the likelihood of customers going elsewhere.
4. Efficient Sales teams
Sales teams can focus on higher revenue opportunities with a direct online booking channel in place that can manage small meetings. This is particularly important as staff are asked to focus on developing strategic contracts and hit high revenue targets. The automation involved in a direct booking channel eliminates the long arduous RFP processes, takes care of such paperwork as tax invoices and reduces the endless email communication between hotel and client.
5. Automated backend
Ask a hotelier what their bedroom occupancy on a given day and chances are they’ll know almost straightaway. Different story for an event manager who will no doubt struggle to provide you with the exact occupancy for their meeting space. A direct booking channel provides the meetings and events space the same privilege the bedroom business has experienced for decades – data analysis and reporting. Managers can access key metrics and perform analysis to make more informed decisions.
Technology is shaking up the meetings business model. There has never been a better time to consider a direct booking solution for meetings.
To learn more, please download our Why Hotels Need a Direct Booking Strategy for Meetings white paper