Automating the Sales Process for Simple Meetings

By John Arenas Chief Executive Officer, Worktopia | October 28, 2008

With today's advanced technology, there is no longer a need for your sales team to spend time engaging in lengthy RFP responses for simple meetings for up to 100 participants. Through the use of a web based meeting booking engine, customers and meeting planners can now literally search , compare live quotes and request bookings that include meeting space, catering and amenities themselves. This means hotel sales teams can focus on customers who have already been pre qualified on budget, timing and space needs. This article shows you how to reduce sales and marketing costs associated with meetings up to 100 participants, while serving these high value, customer relationships.

$24 Billion Opportunity

After all, meetings for under 50 participants represent $24Billion in revenue to hotels each year. With encouragement from corporate customers, the travel industry is migrating to on-line procurement solutions for small meetings. From Sales and Catering System vendors like Micros Fidelio's Opera and Newmarket International's Delphi to Global Distribution Systems like Sabre and Worldspan, and booking engines like Worktopia, the market place for meetings is getting connected and coming on line. Meeting and event booking capability is a welcome improvement from the longstanding practice by meeting planners of creating requests for proposals and submitting them with the hope of receiving a timely response.

RFP Avalanche

Hotels can't be faulted for this gap between customer expectation and delivery. The advent of electronic RFPs, has meant that customers have an ability to submit requests to multiple hotels, quickly and efficiently, even if it was simply to conduct research or consider a remote possibility. Hotels dutifully responded to eRFPs until the avalanche of requests overcame them. With no way to qualify the requests, hotels resorted to answering only the proposals that they felt were suited in terms of size, budget, timing and facility requirements. Add to this a growing number of eRFP channels and there in lies the challenge, plenty of inquiry, no way to prioritize it or manage it. Enter inquiry management tools like Newmarket International's Meeting Broker, meeting space booking engines like Worktopia, Hilton's eEvents and Hyatt's eMediate Meetings.

The Current Off-line booking process for simple meetings is evolving away from a telephone and RFP based system toward a connected marketplace, providing hotels with access to new distribution channels for reaching and serving customers.

Coming up in March 2018...

Human Resources: Value Creation

Businesses must evolve to stay competitive and this is also true of employment positions within those organizations. In the hotel industry, for example, the role that HR professionals perform continues to broaden and expand. Today, they are generally responsible for five key areas - government compliance; payroll and benefits; employee acquisition and retention; training and development; and organizational structure and culture. In this enlarged capacity, HR professionals are no longer seen as part of an administrative cost center, but rather as a member of the leadership team that creates strategic value within their organization. HR professionals help to define company policies and plans; enact and enforce systems of accountability; and utilize definable metrics to measure and justify outcomes. Of course, there are always new issues for HR professionals to address. Though seemingly safe for the moment, will the Affordable Care Act ultimately be repealed and replaced and, if so, what will the ramifications be? There are issues pertaining to Millennials in the workforce and women in leadership roles, as well as determining the appropriate use of social media within the organization. There are new onboarding processes and e-learning training platforms to evaluate, in addition to keeping abreast of political issues like the minimum wage hike movement, or the re-evaluation of overtime rules. Finally, there are genuine immigration and deportation issues that affect HR professionals, especially if they are located in Dreamer Cities, or employ a workforce that could be adversely impacted by federal government policies. The March Hotel Business Review will take a look at some of the issues, strategies and techniques that HR professionals are employing to create and sustain value in their organization.