Our digitized world is “on demand”. What used to take several hours or days can now be done in a matter of minutes. Fully automated. For a long time now, we have no longer made bank transfers at the counter, but online. Anytime – 24/7. If we need a taxi, all we need today is one click in an app instead of hanging in the waiting loop of a taxi company. And companies like Amazon deliver some orders on the same day.
New technologies make procurement processes simple, fast and efficient. However, this digitalization accelerates our everyday lives and fundamentally changes our habits.
Customers – especially those of the “Digital Natives” generation – have become accustomed to this simplicity and speed and now require it not only online, but in all areas of life. The journalist Peter Glaser has christened this digital impatience “Sofortness”. This means that we want to satisfy a current need as quickly as possible, preferably at the same moment. Fast, simple, automated processes are increasingly replacing manual, tedious and complicated processes.
New era in the meeting world
Especially in our fast moving, often anonymous world personal interactions are very important. Despite video conferencing, messenger services and the constantly growing amount of e-mails we receive every day: Personal meetings are still – or precisely because of that – the most efficient form of communication. This can be clearly seen in the continuously increasing number of meetings and conventions worldwide.
More and more hotels and locations today rely on automated processes in conference sales. Especially for small events up to 30 persons, which account for the majority of meeting bookings. They are supported by systems such as meeconnect from meetago group: meeting capacities and prices are available at the push of a button. Not only event planners, but also hotels and locations can save time, effort and costs.
Knowledge advantage through real-time information
Prices and availability in real time provide event planners with a quick and easy way to get an overview: Does the respective hotel have enough capacity for my event? Are there enough rooms for all participants? What will the event cost? Is there possibly a cheaper alternative date? How does the price change if I add or remove services?
Compare destinations at the push of a button
Another interesting application of real-time data is price comparison between destinations. We all know: Supply and demand determine the price. And if, for example, Cologne has become quite expensive due to high occupancy and high demand, it’s worth taking a look in the proximity: might Bonn or Düsseldorf be cheaper at the desired time?
Online booking – instant confirmation
Once the event planner has found an offer that appeals to him or her, it can be booked directly with just a few mouse clicks. A confirmation with all details and a personal contact person will be sent to you immediately by e-mail. Booking completed. Done. You can turn to more important things again.
The saved time to invest meaningfully
Live prices and availability allow event planners to quickly find good offers, compare them and make binding bookings with just a few clicks. The time saved can now be invested much more meaningfully: For example, in the content of the event.
Sales staff in the hotels are pleased to be able to invest the time won in the personal consultation and support of their customers through the drastic increase in efficiency. Time, they have spent in the “manual process” with the administration of customer procedures, like e.g. offer production, offer adjustment etc.
The established inquiry process (RFP) will not (completely) die.
With all the digitalization and automation of the conference business, traditionalists can breathe a sigh of relief. The established inquiry process will not die. At least not completely.
What can be said with a high degree of certainty is that real-time pricing and availability and instant meeting booking will become the global industry standard. Though ( initially ) for smaller, standardizable events around 30 people.
For larger, more complex events or congresses with high coordination efforts we will see the RFP in the future – but supported and accelerated by live data.
By the way: The similarities with the evolutions regarding online booking of hotel rooms are notable. Even if the meetings only follow now, about 20 years later. And even then the number of those who wanted to stick to the “old” process was high. Today we would probably have to search a long time to find someone who wishes to return to the “old times”.
Times change you
We are in a process of change, an evolution of how small meetings are booked. And as in any change process, it is important to be open-minded and interested about this change. Try something new with enthusiasm, even if it may not yet be 110% what we were used to, is better than waiting and watching passively. And this is where all stakeholders are in call: event planners, suppliers such as hotels as well as technology providers.
Because they all have the same goal: to make the meeting business simpler, more digital and more efficient.
The world is turning faster and faster – whether we like it or not – and it’s up to us to stay on target so we don’t lose the connection.