Now Is the Time to Launch Direct Booking for Groups

(Now Is the Time to Launch Direct Booking for Groups)


While the pandemic has wreaked havoc around the world, the crisis has also accelerated technological innovation at an unprecedented rate. The hospitality industry, for example, has seen the rise of contactless payment systems and other mobile self-service options for guests.

Businesses that have been able to pivot to meeting the unique needs of these times have not only survived the fallout but are also poised for ongoing growth as industries emerge from the crisis. The companies that act on these challenges recognize the opportunity to provide solutions to existing problems.

One of the long-standing issues for the hotel industry has been how to streamline the process of booking groups. New technology has emerged that will offer hoteliers and planners the ability to book meetings and events online, a long-awaited development.

Hotels need better technology

Even before the pandemic, the hospitality industry had been seeking ways to better serve meeting planners and reduce the cost of sales.

“A few years ago, the assumption was, ‘If it’s not broken, why fix it?,’” says Kemp Gallineau, CEO of Groups360. “Now, everything is broken and needs to be reinvented from the ground up. The hospitality industry is eager to take advantage of methods that will solve age-old issues.”

Given the state of the industry, hotels increasingly are looking at ways to automate manual tasks and improve operational efficiency. One of those ways is by allowing meeting planners to book a complete meeting online — group rooms, meeting space, catering and A/V — in a single purchase.

Groups360 has embraced this unique opportunity to provide technology solutions for hotels that need to do more with less. Central to the company’s efforts is GroupSync Engage, the first direct booking solution for groups on the market, which launched in October 2020.

“People in our industry have been trying to solve the problem of booking groups forever,” explains Gallineau. “The reason we’ve finally crossed that technological threshold before anyone else is because we’re coming at it from a different perspective. We’ve brought together both the planner side and the supplier side, as opposed to taking a position that favors one side over the other.”

Direct booking has finally arrived

Gallineau points out that the future of booking meetings will be direct and online, especially for smaller, less complex events.

“Just as consumers buy on Amazon and book direct for leisure travel, we also have to consider how our customers want to consume room nights and space for meetings and events,” he says. “For less complex meetings, we have technology that simplifies booking both rooms and space, easing the planner’s workload and freeing up hotel staff. That’s the difference in our approach, which has made us successful in creating technology that helps both sides of the marketplace.”

Gallineau and Groups360 Executive Chairman Dave Kloeppel are long-time hotel industry veterans, having been senior executives with U.S.–based Gaylord Entertainment Company, purveyor of some of the U.S.’s largest conference hotels, prior to founding Groups360.

“As a hotelier myself, it’s been hard to watch my industry colleagues suffer through the pandemic, but it’s also fuelled our drive to expedite the GroupSync technology,” says Gallineau. “We’ve hired more developers and spent more time with our customers so that hotels and suppliers have the resources they need to recover.”

Groups360’s technology development has been predicated on supplying hotels with better technology at a lower cost so they could pass on higher value to their planner customers and have better conversations with the meeting professionals they serve.

“As we come out of this pandemic,” says Gallineau, “we’re here to help hoteliers be highly efficient, drive revenue, and create a great environment to sell not just the commodities of rooms and space but the value hotels provide to meeting planners. That’s what Groups360 is here to do.”

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