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Company insight


The digital age dawns for event planners


As business travel starts to slowly recover in the shadow of the pandemic, meeting and event planners are looking for the most efficient ways to book venues and accommodation. Dan Humby Groups360’s VP of sales in Europe tells Hotel Management International how the GroupSync search engine is bringing a complex and often painful RFP-driven process fully into the digital age.


communicate, to learn, to book holidays and much more. There are, however, some vital aspects of business life that have not fully caught up to the digital age – until now. “For business travel, shopping for hotel rooms is often done through online booking sites or online travel agencies, but this is not the case for business meetings,” says Dan Humby, VP of sales, Europe, for Groups360. “That is a sector that is really outdated and in which there is often a lack of transparency, whether event planners are booking a large meeting or a small meeting.” “We want to make group travel as simple as possible,” he adds. “We want to enable more precise decision-making and to bring hotels the business that they really need.” Traditionally, meeting and event planners have had to engage in a complex RFP procedure for booking hotel and meeting space. This labour- and time- intensive process has often proven less than optimal, with promoted options often rising to the top – even if they don’t fit the planner’s requirements – pushing out more suitable arrangements.


W


e undeniably live in an online world. We instinctively turn to the internet to shop, to


The GroupSync search engine makes the booking process easier for those arranging travel for groups. Efficiency first


Founded in 2014 by David Kloeppel and Kemp Gallineau, former senior executives with decades of experience in the hospitality industry, the pair were more than familiar with the meetings and events space first-hand. To overcome the convoluted and inefficient booking process that has plagued the industry for 40 years, they endeavoured to create a better alternative. GroupSync is the result.


“Even before the pandemic, people saw the need for greater speed and efficiency in the booking process.”


This has meant that the current legacy products that try to help planners don’t really eliminate the RFP pain points – often they’re adding to the challenges they experience. Unfortunately, planners have not had many alternatives to rely on throughout the past decade. Groups360, the company behind the cloud-based GroupSync suite of hotel and planner solutions, is changing that.


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The highly sophisticated but easy to use search engine enables planners to search and book group rooms and meeting space instantly online from nearly 6,000 hotel properties worldwide, without an RFP. If an RFP is required, perhaps for larger and more complex meetings and events, GroupSync can send out requests to almost 200,000


properties across 225 countries and territories. Furthermore, it streamlines the creation, submission and tracking of RFPs and, crucially, there is no paid content on the search engine. Ultimately, this means that GroupSync search results and recommendations are 100% ad-free – which means GroupSync delivers venue search results based solely on a planner’s criteria and preferences, not by ads, giving planners specific search results that are highly relevant and match their event dates and requirements, making the search and shopping function highly precise. All results are presented based on how appropriate they are to the specifics of the RFP in terms of location, size, price and every other parameter. “We have developed a proprietary algorithm to score options in a way that best fits planners’ needs,” Humby explains. “Since the company was founded seven years ago, the heart of our vision has been to drive efficiency in every stage of the events process, and that has not changed during the pandemic. In fact, the


Hotel Management International / www.hmi-online.com


Customdesigner/Shuutterstock.com


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