There’s a rule of thumb in event planning that says the best time to source is when hotels want to sell.
While this may sound obvious, most group travel planners find this advice far from easy to follow. A lack of easily accessible property information pertaining to groups, including rates and availability, makes it challenging for planners to determine where they should focus their sourcing time and effort – and even then, legacy RFP processes create literally months of work for both group travel planners and hoteliers who simply need to identify the perfect hotel to work with.
These and many other pain points are the reason why we do what we do. At its core, our mission is to make booking groups less complicated – and Instant Booking is just one piece of that strategy. Group travel planners can now book guest room blocks or meeting space in one instant, online transaction on GroupSync. The capability is available at nearly 7,000 properties worldwide, with an additional 20,000 properties expected to begin offering Instant Booking within the next year.
And our expansion doesn’t stop there. Today, Omni Hotels & Resorts became the first brand ever to offer GroupSync Instant Booking for both group rooms and meeting space. The move breaks new ground in the business of group travel, and Omni’s rollout serves as a roadmap for more hoteliers to drive innovation
Breaking new ground in group booking
Starting with the Omni Frisco Hotel in Frisco, Texas, the capability to book rooms and space instantly is an industry first that will become available at more than 50 Omni properties in the U.S., Canada and Mexico. Searching, sourcing and booking groups at Omni properties will be as simple as any other online shopping you do today.
“This technology provides an on-demand booking option for planners who seek to book a small room block and meeting space with ease and confidence,” said Peter Palli, chief commercial officer for Omni Hotels & Resorts. “We take great pride in being leaders and innovators in the meetings and events industry, so we were eager to explore the opportunity to adopt paradigm-shifting technology destined to change the way hotels have been booking groups.”
One of the unfortunate realities of event planning has always been that sourcing venues for a small group usually takes just as long as it would for a large event. Seasoned group travel organizers know that if a hotel is stuck using the traditional RFP process, it won’t matter if they’re planning a 15-person corporate offsite or coordinating a group of 500 that needs a hotel banquet room – legacy RFP processing means sourcing takes time, a long time. (An average of 75 days from start to RFP award date.)
It’s also true that hotel sales managers, who are motivated by quarterly closings and sales goals, are more driven to close with planners who can sign within a short timeline in order to meet those goals. GroupSync Instant Booking provides a win-win for both parties: planners drastically reduce the time they spend sourcing – often by 60 days or more – and hoteliers can easily fill booking windows without the sales effort by selling them online, 24/7 via Instant Booking.
“Omni’s innovation will significantly benefit its staff and their customers by automating group bookings, allowing more time to focus on those things that create a great experience,” said Kemp Gallineau, CEO of Groups360.