Marriott Integrates with Groups360 to Enable Instant Booking for Meetings

 | 
January 19, 2023
UPDATED: 
January 19, 2023


Marriott International has partnered with hospitality and
meetings sourcing solution Groups360 to join the platform’s GroupSync Engage
Instant Booking solution, the companies announced Wednesday. 

The platform so far has enabled instant online booking for
both guest rooms and meeting space for 1,500 Marriott properties in the U.S. and
Canada, with more regions to follow. While Marriott is not the first hospitality
company to enable instant booking with Groups360—Hilton and Omni hotels rolled
out a portion of their respective portfolios with the tech provider in 2021—both
GroupSync and Marriott said Marriott is the first to enable the capability “at
scale.” 

Marriott held back from integrating with Cvent’s instant
booking platform in 2022. Instead, it has opted to go all-in with the Groups360
platform in which it and other major hotel brands made significant
start-up investments
. The GroupSync platform for instant bookings and a
simplified request for proposal process received $35
million in additional funding
late last year to accelerate development,
just as in-person meetings recovery—particularly small meetings recovery—started
to feel durable in a post-pandemic landscape. 

GroupSync enables “real-time rates, availability, and online
instant booking options for groups, meetings and events,” the companies boasted
in the press release. The instant booking, however, covers the narrow slice of meetings
bookings that requires 10 to 25 sleeping rooms. Within that range, meeting
organizers can book sleeping room and meeting room inventory for their events
as well as catering and audiovisual equipment, according to a statement from
Groups360 CEO Kemp Gallineau. 

Fewer than 10 sleeping rooms can be booked in a global distribution
system environment, so taking the instant booking option to meetings with 10 to
25 guest rooms is an accomplishment. 

Beyond 25 sleeping rooms, organizers must utilize a
simplified request-for-proposal apparatus that allows meeting organizers to see
real-time inventory, but stops short of real-time bookings. In the 26-rooms-and-over
scenario, RFPs in the Groups360 channel seem to get fast-track handling, given
that organizers have reviewed what is and is not available on their desired
dates and can scope requests accordingly. 

Both companies characterized this development as more akin
to an “online shopping experience” than is possible in traditional RFPs, in which
process the meeting organizer has no knowledge of what spaces might be open on
their dates. Eliminating some of that manual review and response process could
alleviate demands on hotel sales organizations, a particular pain point given
current staffing shortages at many hotels, which may encourage adoption of the start-up
platform.

Gallineau said in a press statement he anticipates a spike
in signups for the product, predicting “over 20,000 leading hotel properties
will be equipped to offer online group booking in the months ahead.” 

But integration expectations may be slower than originally
expected, given that 20,000 is the same number Gallineau previously
said
he expected by the end of 2021. 

Regardless, Marriott officer of global sales, distribution
and revenue management said in a press statement that Marriott’s integration offers
customers what they’ve been asking for—“a much more seamless and efficient
booking experience.”



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  • Chuck Parsons

    Chuck is Score LA’s Executive Director of Events and Marketing. He aims to help business owners and would-be entrepreneurs in Los Angeles improve their business practices.

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