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?