Planner Pain Points: How to Manage Sourcing Overwhelm - Groups360

Planner Pain Points: How to Manage Sourcing Overwhelm

by | Jan 5, 2021 | Planners

Event planning can be a high-stakes, high-stress job with as many challenges as rewards. It’s no secret that for many meeting professionals, searching and sourcing venues is their least favorite part of the job.

The paradox of so many choices means it takes too much time to narrow down your venue options. So how do you deal with the overwhelm of sourcing?

Groups360 commissioned interviews with meeting planners from corporations, associations and trade societies across the U.S. so that we could better understand your sourcing journeys.

Below are the top five pain points when dealing with sourcing overload, according to your industry peers, along with the empowering alternative you’ll find in GroupSync.

1.  You’re often unsatisfied with options provided by other sources.

“I recently sourced Wyoming, but there weren’t a lot of big brand hotels there. Since my usual brand partner couldn’t help me, I had to search on my own to determine which properties to send the RFP to.” —Trade association meeting planner

“CVBs are really helpful for gathering information based on a location, but I like to double-check their work. And if I don’t get a great response from the CVB, I then have to reach out to hotels individually.” —Corporate event planner

Solution: GroupSync’s inventory includes more than 200,000 hotels across all brands in 225 countries and territories around the globe. If you can find the hotel online, you can find it in GroupSync.

GroupSync also aggregates historical hotel industry data, updated hotel listings, and Google geographical information to show you properties, amenities, estimated hotel rates, anticipated occupancy levels, available and relevant incentives, local weather, and other market insights you can’t as easily access anywhere else.

Meeting planners who use GroupSync receive targeted destination and hotel results to save time on searching and sourcing. While our database offers maximum choice, our algorithms streamline the search to those that best fit your needs, according to your event dates, budget, and weighted preferences. The result is a more precise RFP to more targeted hotels that best fit your program.

2. You need to be able to search according to specific needs and preferences.

“I plan all my meetings in systems that give us a star rating or a AAA rating. There are guidelines in our industry because most clients won’t let you go above a four-star or diamond venue. I need the analytical ability to limit the level of luxury and automatically eliminate the five-star venues. I only look at three- or four-star properties.” —Corporate event planner

“I would love to go to one place. If I could just pop in the city and break it down by the size of the hotel, how many rooms, what their meeting space looks like. How far are they from an airport? We’re not allowed to go any more than a half hour from a major airport when we’re booking meetings. Something that would break it down.” —Trade association meeting planner

Solution: When you source through GroupSync, after you input your rooms on peak and your arrival and departure dates, you can search by preferred destinations, average daily room rate, required meeting space, star rating powered by Trust You, weather trends, hotel brands, direct flights from certain locations, miles from an airport, and onsite amenities like golf, fitness centers, spas and more.

After you’ve inputted your preferences, GroupSync requires you to rank two or more of these preferences by strength so the algorithm can deliver the destinations and properties that best fit your needs. Destinations and hotels won’t be filtered out based on your preferences, but they will be given a SyncScore — a compatibility score from 0 to 100 that shows how well they match your weighted preferences.

3. You need help finding and evaluating destinations.

“Sometimes the stakeholder wants to look at a list of possible destinations, so I need a place with aggregated information so that I don’t have to go looking at each website for each city. If we do an event in an unfamiliar city and I don’t know what that city has to offer, I need something to give me a broader idea so I can explain to the stakeholders what they’re looking for and the cost.” —Corporate event planner

Solution: In GroupSync, under your event details, you can input preferred cities, landmarks, points of interest, or even specific places such as an office address to search nearby hotels. You can also leave that space blank if you don’t have anywhere in particular in mind.

After submitting your search, GroupSync presents results for your preferred destinations. The algorithm also produces recommended destinations that match your ranked preferences, such as hotel rates, amenities or distance from an airport. On each destination page, you will see estimated future hotel rates, occupancy trends and typical weather according to the dates of your event.

4. You need an efficient way to compare hotel responses.

“We gather all the response information and place it in a chart so we can evaluate each property apples to apples, based on available dates and rates over those dates. We look at costs such as the average breakfast, lunch or dinner, anticipated AV needs, or how much money we would spend with their in-house company.” —Professional society meeting planner

Solution: In GroupSync, you can manage and compare your RFPs in one place to quickly narrow down your bids. When you select hotel proposals for comparison and click the Compare button, GroupSync consolidates and presents hotel responses as a comprehensive table of key data points. You can easily see your asking rate, the average market rate, the property’s proposed rate and more. This insightful data shows you whether the hotel’s proposed rate is fair compared to the market, even if the proposed rate happens to fall below your budget.

You can export key metrics of the hotels’ proposals into an Excel file to share with stakeholders, or you can compare responses in an RFP comparison table that can also be shared as a PDF.

5. You need help narrowing down too many options.

“[Legacy sourcing systems] have so many hotels that you have to work to narrow the funnel, and you always end up missing that one that you should have looked at. Good opportunities seem to fall through the cracks, but you only find out afterward when somebody suggests it to you. I’d like a magic bubble that says, ‘If this is what you’re looking for, maybe you should look at these too.’” —Corporate event planner

“When I have so many options, I really need to narrow down my choices. We had an event for 12 people, so we only needed a boardroom and a very small guest-room block, but we were in New York City where there are thousands of hotel options with that space.” —Corporate event planner

Solution: GroupSync gives you distinct advantages over legacy sourcing platforms. You see only the most relevant destinations and hotel listings based on your event dates, peak rooms, budget, meeting space needs, and stated preferences — no paid placements, ever.

Destinations and hotels are ranked according to your weighted preferences with a SyncScore — a compatibility score from 0 to 100. Below each listing is a legend that indicates how the destination or hotel matches your indicated priorities. If an icon — such as the number of hotels in a market, rates, weather, direct flights, distance from airport, or amenities — is bold, the destination or hotel meets your needs. If an icon is shaded gray, it does not.

You can sort recommended destinations by score or the number of hotels that can accommodate your group. You can also easily filter hotel results based on name, brand, SyncScore, available incentives, meeting space, largest room or number of rooms.

Best of all, you now have the option to book a complete meeting online — group rooms, meeting space, catering and AV — in a single, secure purchase at participating hotels.

Find out how GroupSync can simplify your workflow today.

Read more in the Planner Pain Points series:

Find the Right Hotel at the Right Price

Ditch Low-Tech Tools and Legacy Sourcing Systems

How to Manage Meeting Logistics

How to Ensure Clear Communication