ALEXANDRIA, VA — A new GBTA Foundation study revealed the most valued and most desired features when it comes to site sourcing technology, it was announced last month.
Location (27 per cent) and cost (26 per cent) are the top factors for choosing a property to host a meeting or event. Currently only two in five planners (43 per cent) have access to technology that automatically populates city specs, including everything from proximity of the venue to other hotels, restaurants and airports along with hotel rates to food and beverage pricing or even a city’s crime rates. Half of the planners who use this type of technology find it valuable to make more informed decisions, as would 45 per cent of those who don’t have access to it. Some planners even said this feature would top their wish list if they created their own meeting and event planning product.
Another valuable tool when selecting a city and event site would be a Yelp-style site for meeting planners. This formalized approach to consulting industry experts would only work with a few important caveats, however, planners say. The site would need to be limited to experienced planners, populated with up-to-date information and shielded from supplier’s eyes to be seen as a credible and useful resource.
Four in five (81 per cent) planners currently use technology that allows them to send a single RFP to multiple properties and allows properties to respond directly to the RFP within the platform for easy comparisons – both highly valued features. Seven in ten (70 per cent) planners use technology to compare property details side by side and nearly all (88 per cent) find this feature valuable. Planners would also like the ability to track each venue’s pricing from the initial bid to final negotiated price, which becomes very helpful when companies place an emphasis on budget tracking and cost savings.
Planners find site visits to be an invaluable aspect of the planning and success of meetings and events; however, many still take a low-tech approach to them. Seven in ten (70 per cent) say they use pen and paper to record information gathered on site visits. While many planners prefer their pen and paper method, others are showing interest in moving to electronically recording the information gathered on site visits, including the ability to record notes or upload photos electronically.
Two-thirds of planners use (63 per cent) and value (67 per cent) meeting and event planning technology that allows for two-way communication with vendors. Making this portal mobile friendly would be a great improvement for many planners. Additionally, seven in ten planners use meetings and event technology to help them load and track budget info along the way, and while only one-third (33 per cent) currently have technology that allows planners to survey their venue and vendors post-event, many express interest in having this option as a part of their meeting and event management technology.