The events and meeting segment of the hospitality industry has come a long way in the last few years. With the rapid progression and disruption of mobile and consumer-centric technology changing the way in which hotels approach their business, the rise of group booking technology appears to be the last piece of the puzzle to fall into place. And if there is anyone who knows a thing (or many) about the long-awaited revolution of the events booking process, it’s Lauren Hall, the CEO of iVvy.
Hall began her journey into entrepreneurship with a background in programming, accounting, marketing and business management with expertise spanning manufacturing, retail, advertising and technology across multiple industries. With accolades such as ‘Innovator of the Year 2016’, ‘Silver Stevie Awards for Entrepreneur of the Year Globally 2016’ attached to her name, it’s no surprise that she has become a widely respected voice of innovation and technological reform amongst hospitality leaders and technology vendors alike.
Hall co-founded iVvy in 2009 with the intention to finally empower a process that, despite offering a wealth of revenue opportunity for hotels, had been largely neglected and restricted within broken, manual legacy systems. After identifying the problem, Hall and her co-founder James Greig had a clear vision for the solution. A solution which allowed hotels and event planners alike to ditch the spreadsheets and manual processes, for something efficient and concurrent with industry demand.
“When I started iVvy, I did not have a background in events or in IT. However, what I had was an awful experience trying to book an events space, a process that took six weeks, only to be later told it wasn’t available.”
Making RFPs a Thing of the Past
Through iVvy, Hall has created the world’s only fully integrated platform to help manage, search, compare, book and pay for your events in real time, from anywhere, on any device.
Today, iVvy is already loved by thousands of users, including Shangri-La, Pan Pacific, Fairfax Media, Mantra, Choice Hotels and many more.
“You don’t have to work as an event planner to know that the process of securing a venue and solidifying event details can be dubious — especially under the fast-paced time restraints created by eager, last-minute clients or company demands.” Hall explains, “And yet, up until recently, the process was broken. Sales Managers within hotels and restaurants were constantly inundated with largely unqualified RFPs, spending the bulk of their time simply trying to catch up on emails, rather than actually effectively selling venue space. Individual travelers were no longer faced with these kinds of booking aggravations and delays, so why should the group booking segment be any different? I was determined to make RFPs a thing of the past.”
Breaking free from the confines of manual processes and email follow-up, the iVvy platform allows hotels to distribute their (live) inventory and availability, optimize their sales activity and enable real-time bookings. This means instant quotes and contracts, easy booking and resource management, instant payments, reports on trends and performance, mobile access to the platform and so much more. Why is this so important? Because finally, hotels have access to a tool which allows them to effectively sell a segment of their business that boasts so much revenue potential, while better empowering their staff to do their jobs.
Keeping Pace With Technological Demands
Technology today is moving faster than ever before, and if you ask Hall — you can either get ahead of it or be left behind. This shouldn’t be seen as a threat to the industry and the way things have always been done, but rather, as an opportunity to transform antiquated processes and optimize revenue potential with next-gen technology. After all, with the increased adoption of mobile functionality, AI technology, virtual reality and more, the future of the events segment looks more exciting than ever before.
“If you’re not keeping up with the trends of future buyers, if you’re not visible, you’re invisible. Our generation and industry have become more dependent on mobile with a greater demand for instant gratification and digital convenience. Event organizers, potential travelers, etc., they aren’t willing to be limited when the technology exists that eliminates those restrictions to their experience. The opportunity at hand is to monetize the services and assets in the meetings and events industry, much like all other industries such as e-commerce who can offer their products at all times.”
With improved group booking management comes increased customer retention, lower costs of acquisition, better customer experience, the ability to manage return on investment, and the opportunity to connect directly with qualified planners that are ready and willing to confirm their reservation.
“We have finally transformed the event planning process in a way that benefits everyone. With a digital booking entity intact, hotels can attract a whole new level of meetings and events to their property.”