Is it Possible to Book a Conference Venue without Using Phone or E-mail?

I´ve found a glitch in the hospitality matrix. In today’s hospitality market we´re used to booking everything online – flights, hotels, rental cars, etc. If we’re uncertain on what to choose then we can just read the online reviews for a second opinion. You even can book your room through Instagram without leaving the app.

Recently, I was about to book a conference here in Sweden for myself and a group of colleagues. We needed a meeting room with an overnight stay and additional coffee, lunch and dinner.

Having worked with PMS for many years I find booking particularly interesting and therefore I made it my mission to avoid using phone or e-mail – I just had to make the reservation online. I can tell you, it was easier said than done.
To begin with, I found that a surprising number conference sites didn’t have the option to book meetings online; in most cases you had to make an inquiry.

After quite a bit of searching I did find a few potential options. However, in most cases you could only book either the hotel rooms or the meeting room, not both. Plus it was surprisingly hard to find any availability.

I presume that most of these sites are not integrated with the hotel/resort PMS, and updating meeting room availability manually is even more work than for hotel rooms. Could you imagine running your channel manager without integration to your PMS?
I ask myself, why hasn’t technology for meetings and conferences come further?

I’m well aware of the complexity involved in conference and event reservations and understand that hoteliers can’t leave everything in the hands of the “online booker”. But I’m sure that with some effort from hospitality technology providers, a big portion of all the meetings out there, both day and overnight, could be managed through online reservations in a similar way as to hotel rooms.
What do you reckon, how much of your meeting availability would you consider releasing online?

I believe there is a big potential for hotels to boost their conference revenue, saving time and money by utilising an online booking capability for their conference target market with appropriate package offering.

Pål Sjögren – Sales & Product Manager PMS

Get more hospitality insights from Pål in his Check in Express article