Welcome to another Expert Insights discussion.

Today we are joined by:

🔹 Niki Van den Broeck
Head of Business Development at Get Into MoRe, one of our Expert Partners

In this discussion we look at how the groups, meetings and events space is improving and what trends are they seeing.

We then explore as this business starts to improve how do you decide whether to sell or not sell i.e. how do you prioritise those sales enquiries.

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Niki outlines what criteria should be considered when evaluating these enquiries and what factors make a good enquiry – she also illustrates these factors with “MAX”, the new solution from Get Into MoRe

Hope you enjoy it 🤞👍

NB: There is a transcript below from parts of the discussion. Please note our transcripts are generated using speech recognition software and human editing and may contain errors

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  • Guest Welcome and Topic Introduction (1:19)
  • Current state of play in meetings and events (3:35)
  • Why is there a decision to sell or not sell (12:01)
  • Criteria to evaluate an enquiry (14:18)
  • Intro to “MAX” the new solution (23:26)
  • Wrap Up (30:45)

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Trevor Grant
Where is where are you seeing the demand coming from? What’s the state of play for meetings and events at the moment?

Niki Van den Broeck
So most of our customers in the hotels that we’re working with, they’re not complaining that you’re busy, but they are really, really, really busy. And that’s of course, for two reasons, I’d say first one being that they are receiving lots and lots and lots of requests and inquiries for meetings, events, and any sort of professional or private gathering really, quite often super last minute as well. The lead times become very short, or very far ahead.

But a lot of inquiries also for Q1 and Q2 already next year, 2022. On the other hand, of course meetings and even sales team, they are still much smaller than before the pandemic. So it’s really all hands on deck to keep up right now with the flow of inquiries. That’s hitting the hotels.

I’d say volumes are pretty high. But one thing that’s still very different from before, is that the business is still very, very, very local.

Moving forward, many of the events that we see there’s quite some pent up demand for celebrations. People that had to postpone a wedding, or a 50th anniversary and stuff like that. But hotels are very suited venues to host that type of event. But then also, meetings where the in person factor is very valuable, I think what we’ve seen is that in the pandemic, some of the meetings you can perfectly do online, but that others, they really need to be in person to be valuable. So more quality meetings and teams gathering, for instance, that have been working remotely and seek a hotel to have some community space, strategic meetings, and so on. So the boardroom type of events are very popular right now

Trevor Grant
We are posing the question to sell or not to sell, after the last 18 months why are we even asking that question, surely we just take the business?

Niki Van den Broeck
I’d say in meetings and events, revenue management or commercial management, it’s very different from selling hotel rooms, because you have large revenues attached to one inquiry, and also you have less chances to get it right. If I don’t sell a certain hotel room today, well, there is very big chance that I can sell it tomorrow. So anything any events, while you’ll see less inquiries coming in than just selling hotel rooms, the business moves a bit slower. So what happens is, for instance, you have 10 meeting rooms, and let’s talk about a hotel with 200 hotel rooms and 10 meeting rooms. And you have an inquiry for next year, February, they want to do a meeting with two meeting rooms half a day. And it’s going to be on a Wednesday, for instance, well, you could say okay, that’s nice, we have the space, it’s open. So we can, we can welcome these people. On the other hand, you have eight more meeting rooms to sell. You could also host maybe later down the line, you will get an inquiry for a very profitable conference. That conference, however, will take up all of your meeting space. So that will alter meeting rooms available, unfortunately then, you will have to refuse that inquiry at that specific time because of the other event. And that means that you might have just lost £50k to £60k, because you’ve accepted a very small inquiry. And so that’s why it’s so important to be very strategic about what to accept, at what point in time, so to have a good impact on total revenue.

Trevor Grant
That makes sense. So are there factors, criteria, we should consider when evaluating an enquiry? And if so, what are they?

Niki Van den Broeck
Definitely. I often say that meetings and events management, it really compares a lot like playing a very high stakes game of Tetris. You want everything to fit as good as possible. You don’t want to leave any space open. So all in all, it’s like Tetris, but of course, advanced mode.

So step one would be evaluating how does this inquiry that’s right in front of me, fit in with what I already have blocked? If you see that it’s a very nice fit, well, then you might already think this is a good one to accept.

The second step is to evaluate what is the profitability of this inquiry. Something that I found super surprising when seeing the AI and “MAC” doing its work, even in the first beta versions, is the huge differences you have in revenue per square metre for inquiries. We’ve tested this with a client hotel and we could see, for the same day you received inquiries for the same meeting room, that one would have a profitability or revenue per square metre of three euros per available square metre, and the other one was 61 euros per available square metre.