Hotel companies invest in meeting-booking platform

Groups360 expects to deliver access to group rooms and space availability, pricing and an “instant book” capability. Photo credit: Shutterstock

Accor, Hilton, InterContinental Hotels Group and Marriott International have invested a combined $50 million in Groups360, a technology platform for booking meeting spaces. Each investor will have a seat on the board.

Leveraging Groups360’s proprietary technology, business intelligence and industry expertise, the enhanced GroupSync platform will offer transparent rates, fees and relevant meeting content, according to the company. Groups360 expects to deliver access to group rooms and space availability, pricing and an “instant book” capability for less-complex meetings as part of its future product roadmap. GroupSync will include content from a wide variety of brands and independent properties.

Currently, planners can use the platform to search destinations for hotels and future rates, which are determined by an algorithm that accounts for current rates and economic factors. This means planners don't need to use requests for proposals to seek out rates and can request proposals from a narrower roster of venues.

Groups360's road map includes a booking solution for simple meetings, President/CEO Kemp Gallineau said in a statement. “Simple meetings should have a simple solution to make bookings across multiple brands easier,” he said. “We are focused on continuing to enhance GroupSync’s reputation as the “smartest” search and book application available as it makes recommendations to planners based on their preferences and market price predictions from our algorithms.”

Groups360 will continue to be led by Gallineau and executive chairman David Kloeppel. The company has not determined a time line. Each of the investors will be represented on the board of Groups360.

Hilton executives have said in the past few years that they were working to automate real-time inventory and booking for meetings. A Hilton spokesperson wouldn’t publicly comment on the status of booking technology under development, but made a statement to Meetings & Conventions. “Through our investment, we are pleased to support Groups360's vision of a cost-effective, simple-to-use online sourcing and booking solution that introduces additional options for meeting and event planners," a company spokesperson noted.

Groups360 was founded in 2014 by former Gaylord Entertainment executives Kloeppel and Gallineau. The company’s price-predictor tool delivers improved transparency, reducing time and effort required to book meetings for both the hotel and the planner. Using GroupSync, planners can search more 170,000 properties, including Accor, Hilton, IHG and Marriott, as well as other brands and independents, in 225 countries.

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