In light of beam’s recent Instant Book summit, we explore whether it really is the future of venue finding.
Finding a hotel on one of the many directories available, searching for the best deal that suits your requirements, and booking it instantly. Commonplace for holidays where finding the right stay can take minutes, but can we make booking space for a meeting or event so simple? The answer seems to be: yes, for smaller events perhaps. More complex requirements will need more work, and challenges lay as venues start to get in gear, with not all venues on board just yet.
Michael Begley, Managing Director of Venuedirectory.com, comments: “Venuedirectory.com data shows that meetings for up to 30 delegates cover 82% of bookings. These meetings may be small, but they are mighty in terms of their impact – it’s these types of meetings that crop up the most frequently. Looking at RFP numbers from 2019 onwards, meetings for between 11 and 20 people make up nearly half (47%) of the total of RFPs.
“These stats all indicate that a high proportion of meetings organised are small meetings – so why not make this process easier? Instant Book has been around in the travel industry for a long time. We’re working with industry partners including beam to be part of a movement championing the introduction of Instant Book for small meetings and events.”
Instant booking offers event organisers the ability to secure a space without having to go through the trouble of searching out further information or having to contact someone in order to book the venue and complete endless paperwork: “The benefits are numerous: Digitally integrated solutions are now available which deliver significant benefits for both planner and venue. Planners – whether they are working for agencies, corporates, or independents – can now easily can search for venues, enquire, book, track, invoice, report, and make commission claims – all in one place. Access to real-time availability ensures the process is easy and efficient and gives real transparency to the whole process.”
The process also has advantages for venues, allowing for easy tracking of availability and wider distribution:
“Likewise, many venues, from worldwide hotel groups to dedicated venues, can benefit from the digital integration on offer. They can easily track and manage enquiries, benefit from the wider distribution platform, and – ultimately – convert more business. Venues can process enquiries without duplicating the information across multiple systems. This frees up a large amount of time and allows venues to dedicate resources in a much more meaningful way.”
That’s not to say that instant booking is without its downsides. By not contacting the venues directly, event organisers lose out on the chance to negotiate a better price and find themselves restricted to the price listed, and right now there are some major differences. It’s also worth noting that while being able to check live availability is an incredible advantage when searching a meeting room, on many directories some venues are not updated and bookable live, instead featuring an “enquire” or “request to book” feature which is more or less the same as contacting the venue directly independently. On some platforms, specific details like parking rates, room layouts, and accessibility are unavailable.
So while instant booking is making headway in the events world and in line with technology will eventually flourish, there is some way to go. However, right now for smaller and simpler meetings it provides a promising, time-saving service that allows event organisers to find, book, and pay for a simple meeting need in minutes.