|Research shows demand's growing, but meeting rooms sit empty.|
Wednesday, 2nd May 2012
Source : MeetingRoomNow.com
Research conducted earlier this spring suggests that, depending on the time of year and location, 65% or more of North American hotel meeting room space sits idle, despite increasing demand for space to accommodate small to mid-size groups.
MeetingRoomNow.com has just launched an online solution to help hoteliers turn empty rooms into revenue generators and tap into this trend – without affecting regular meeting room rates.
Hotels enter their inventory through a simple, secure back end portal – and can adjust pricing as the time to booking shrinks. Says one hotelier, “It’s a perishable product and I’d rather get a little less for the room, yet add something to the F&B bottom line... especially when it also puts us in front of people we might not otherwise have as clients.”
Increasingly, North American companies are replacing or supplementing major annual meetings with smaller meetings held across the country, with rooms connected via teleconferencing. Industry experts expect this practice to grow by 10 – 15% a year for the next 5 years.
Immediate turnaround is critical for hoteliers wanting to capture a piece of the rising demand for smaller meeting space (5 – 30 people on average), organized on short notice. According to an August 2011 Event and Meeting report, 20% of meetings are cancelled or held in-house if organizers can’t quickly locate and secure meeting space.
The portal solves that problem. Meeting planners enter their requirements (date, budget, city, location, number of people, venue type, etc.) and immediately get a list of what’s available. They can then book on the spot. This is the only online tool that does not require users to go through an RFP process or pay a membership fee, which meeting planners say is a huge benefit.
Mary Lowen, an event coordinator at For My Homework says, “This tool is great because I often don’t get much notice. With MeetingRoomNow.com I won’t have to wait for an RFP to come back. I can make a decision and move on to other planning details.”
Another advantage: Planners make their selection and pay right away. This means that when sales reps get involved, they are working with a confirmed client; they are not chasing an RFP with a low likelihood of conversion.
The service is free for all to use; hotels simply pay a modest commission on the room and F&B. Typically hoteliers do not pay a commission on F&B, but according to Matt Black, Director of Sales and Marketing for One King West Hotel and Residence, “It’s a model that will work. It is a great way to supplement our sales efforts and reach a broader set of clients. Your only cost is a commission if they use you. And you get all the add-ons. It’s basically risk free. MeetingRoomNow.com greatly facilitates the booking process for meeting planners and hoteliers alike.”
MeetingRoomNow.com, a solution created by Canadian entrepreneurs Adam Metrakos and Sulaiman Speed, in conjunction with industry and e-commerce experts, is currently in the process of adding hotels; 34 have already confirmed and discussions are in progress with others.