Ten Most Effective Ways to use Technology as a Meeting Selling Tool

By Greg Pesik President and CEO, Passkey International | October 28, 2008

Technology is a key catalyst to group meeting success and hotels should embrace these solutions to make their venue more attractive to planners-whether for large groups and corporations, private weddings and parties. Here is a look at some of the must have technologies of today.

1. Collaborative Online Block Management Solutions

Room block management is a huge challenge. Why? It's difficult to accurately predict how many rooms you will need to accommodate your guests BEFORE you know how many will be attending. Set aside too many and you may be eating the cost of rooms that never get used. Set aside too few and you will have angry attendees who are forced to stay elsewhere.

Collaborative online block management solutions let planners and hotels give attendees the opportunity to make their reservation online in a contracted block. In many instances the reservation site is tied directly to the event site, making the process even easier. Planners and hotels can then monitor all activity in real-time through reports and event information. If a block is almost full, the planner can quickly add additional rooms. If a block is under-booked, the planner can release rooms and save money. While these solutions cannot predict attendance, they can remove the guessing game.

2. Automated Room List

A second area that hotels have begun looking at are room list management tools. When a planner has established its final list of attendees, standard practice requires they email the list or drop it off with the hotel. However with heightened security concerns, sending confidential information via email or dropping it off at the front desk no longer falls into the "best practices" category (imagine how many eyes view a registration list that has been faxed over to the hotel's front desk or in sent via email). Additionally, these methods are plagued by errors usually stemming from the manual entry of reservations.

Coming up in February 2018...

Social Media: Engagement is Key

There are currently 2.3 billion active users of social media networks and savvy hotel operators have incorporated social media into their marketing mix. There are a few Goliath channels on which one must have a presence (Facebook & Twitter) but there are also several newer upstart channels (Instagram, Snapchat &WeChat, for example) that merit consideration. With its 1.86 billion users, Facebook is a dominant platform where operators can drive brand awareness, facilitate bookings, offer incentives and collect sought-after reviews. Twitter's 284 million users generate 500 million tweets per day, and operators can use its platform for lead generation, building loyalty, and guest interaction. Instagram was originally a small photo-sharing site but it has blown up into a massive photo and video channel. The site can be used to post photos of the hotel property, as well as creating Instagram Stories - personal videos that disappear from the channel after 24 hours. In this regard, Instagram and Snapchat are now in direct competition. WeChat is a Chinese company whose aim is to be the App for Everything - instant messaging, social media, shopping and payment services - all in a single platform. In addition to these channels, blogging continues to be a popular method to establish leadership, enhance reputations, and engage with customers in a direct and personal way. The key to effective use of all social media is to find out where your customers are and then, to the fullest extent possible, engage with them on a personal level. This engagement is what creates a personal connection and sustains brand loyalty. The February Hotel Business Review will explore these issues and examine how some hotels are successfully integrating social media into their operations.