How Hotels Can Use Technology to be More Competitive for Group Business and Win Repeat Customers

By Kevin Fliess Vice President Supplier Network Product Marketing, Cvent | August 30, 2015

When hotel technology is mentioned, planners often think of audio-visual and Wi-Fi coverage in meeting and guest rooms. Those things, however, comprise only the tip of the tech iceberg; as hoteliers know, the real technology accomplishments begin way before attendee arrival.

For the business of putting heads in beds – and groups in meeting rooms – the industry increasingly relies on technology that is itself evolving. In only a few short years, for example, data storage has evolved from proprietary servers (something you can spill coffee on) to virtual “cloud-based” technology, which allows for exponentially more data. So what started decades ago as a scribbled note (“Annie from XYZ Company wants 30 rooms for three days of training”) has evolved into several volumes of information about every aspect of Annie’s meeting. And these volumes can be read on the face of a smart phone, which has roughly the same dimensions as the original paper note.

In addition, the electronic Request for Proposal (eRFP), which made its awkward, forms-challenged debut (print-fill out-fax) around the turn of this century, is now a sophisticated tool with which hotels win lucrative group business. Through Cvent alone in 2014, planners sought to source approximately $8 billion of business through its venue sourcing sites – the Cvent Supplier Network, SpeedRFP.com, and EliteMeetings.com.

In Our Elements

At Cvent, we see successful hospitality technology as including three core elements: marketing to attract business, demand management to make sure the right leads are being pursued, and business intelligence to determine if efforts are being put against the right initiatives.

Marketing to attract business, otherwise known as lead generation, used to be way more haphazard. Getting your message in front of an audience of leisure travelers is relatively easy, as anyone can be a leisure traveler; but how to recognize meeting planners?

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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.