Are Hotels Missing Out as Instant Booking for Meetings Grows? – Skift

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Emerging platforms that allow the instant booking of meeting space are growing and hotel chains are finally buying into a future where time-intensive requests for proposals are no longer necessary for many events.

At the same time, though, co-working spaces are taking advantage of these digital platforms to expand their market share in the meetings world.

A new report from venue booking platform Meetingsbooker.com details the shifting tides in the sector through an evaluation of bookings made on its platform.

A breakdown of the types of venues booked is instructive; hotels and conference centers are losing out to co-working spaces and business centers.

This makes a certain amount of space, particularly as hotels prioritize high yielding business for multi-day events including room block bookings. There is also a new breed of boutique event venue that caters to corporate business.

Venues Booked Share of Booking YoY Growth
Hotels 49% -3%
Co-Working / Business Centers 23% 10%
Specialist Conference Centers 19% -7%
Alternative Venues 9% 0%

Source: Meetingsbooker.com

The report, however, suggests the decline in hotel bookings may be temporary as more hotels join digital platforms to sell their meeting spaces.

“Smaller meetings discovery and reservations are rapidly going online; venues are responding by offering instant book, offers, and flexible hourly bookings,” said Ciaran Delaney, CEO of Meetingsbooker.com.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, instant booking is allowing event planners to more easily book meetings for an individual part of the day. Full day meetings are on the decline, with hourly bookings picking up momentum.

Length of Booking Share of Bookings YoY Growth
Full Day 44% -5%
Morning 18% 1%
Hourly 15% 4%
Afternoon 14% 0%
Multiday 5% -1%
Evening 4% 1%

Source: Meetingsbooker.com

As corporate event planners become more familiar with these digital platforms, and more hotel chains bring their products online, they are likely to consolidate their bookings on a single platform to keep things organized.

“We are also seeing global corporations now actively looking for one platform to cater for their high volume smaller meetings as well as larger events and group accommodation,” said Delaney.

As you’d expect, instant booking is on the rise for a variety of reasons.

Type of Booking Share of Bookings YoY Growth
Instant Book 47% 11%
Request to Book 53% -11%

Source: Meetingsbooker.com

It’s important to remember that instant booking isn’t a fit for every type of event, particularly complex multi-day conferences or those requiring specific types of technology or spaces. Those that are more complicated, though, have a new willingness to communicate via text chat for the support they need.

“The report also shows that planners require a strong booking support solution particularly for larger events with group accommodation,” said Delaney. “As the meeting size grows, planners send over 15 support chats direct to hotels and our support team.”

The trend towards the digitization of event space booking is here to stay and the hotels that prioritize this transition will reap the benefits.

Check out the full report below.

Download (PDF, 1.05MB)



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