by Alex Palmer | September 12, 2017
While many meetings technology providers cater to large-scale events, a new booking tool promises to specifically serve the needs of small meetings and novice event planners. Bizly, a platform for booking and managing small meetings, today expanded from its beta phase to open up its offering to all interested corporate customers.

The platform allows organizations and individuals to book space and manage events without RFPs, in a way that's closer to what its founder and CEO, Ron Shah, described as "consumer-style online booking experience." Bizly has been operating in beta, available to a handful of Fortune 100 customers, including a large pharmaceutical company and large software company. Today it opens up these offerings to any organization looking to book a meeting.

Shah explained to Successful Meetings that Bizly's offering is "built for the employee" with an eye toward making the event-booking process as user-friendly as possible, even for those new to managing events.

"We've created the right balance between 'self-service' and 'supported' to give employees everything they need to build impactful meetings that create real ROI for their organizations," he said. "Our original content and booking platform creates a second-to-none search experience, and our compliance features with client support concierge puts on the guardrails to make sure there's success every time…it's truly a whole product experience around the employee's needs."

The platform allows visitors to review more than 2,000 restaurants, hotels, and unique event spaces throughout the top 50 metropolitan areas in the U.S., booking meetings within their organization's spending limits and negotiated rates without the need for an RFP. Shah described how this approach to event management was a logical next step for the industry at a time when a growing number of people and roles have become responsible for booking and planning meetings.

"Most of the dominant meeting technology players today were founded 15-20 years ago," said Shah. "They built their product offering around the needs of the meetings department. Today, most small meetings are booked by employees outside of the meetings department -- by administrators, EAs, marketing, sales, HR, and product managers. These employees have very different buying behavior and require a different product experience." 

He added that the platform would also allow small-meeting venues to more easily tap into these hard-to-reach planners, allowing hotels and other venues to deal directly with a broader range of event planners, even those outside the traditional meeting-planning team.