Simplifying the Booking Process for Small Meetings

Small meetings with replicable requirements make up at least half of all events. Here's how some event-technology companies are working to simplify booking solutions.

Their diminutive budgets might fly under the radar, but simple meetings - or small meetings with basic, replicable requirements - actually account for half of corporate meetings globally. That's according to a 2018 study conducted by the Global Business Travel Association and HRS Global Hotel Solutions, and many in the industry estimate the percentage to be even higher - much higher.

"I just had a client meeting with a company that does a thousand meetings a year," says Charles De Gaspe Beaubien, president and CEO of Groupize, a self-service meetings-booking platform. "And out of a thousand meetings, 992 of them are simple."

While not every company defines these meetings the same way - whether it's less than 50 attendees, an event with easily repeatable logistics, or one encompassing a minimal number of hours - many of these gatherings are going unmanaged because the sourcing and meetings management processes in place were established for more complex events. This struggle has plagued conference programs for nearly a decade, but a growing number of meetings-tech suppliers have heard the planner pleas and are redoubling efforts to streamline the booking of small, simple meetings. Their approaches differ somewhat because each meetings program has different needs.

Here's how a handful of leading tech suppliers are identifying the challenges - and trying to find solutions.

Simplifying the Sourcing

One of the greatest hurdles in achieving small-meetings automation is actually convincing the people scheduling them to use the meetings management platform in place. "In most cases, the people booking these meetings are not meeting planners," points out Kevin Iwamoto, chief strategy officer for Bizly, a small-meetings management platform. "They are executive admins or administrative assistants, or group managers. Forcing them to use a complex and user-unfriendly process to book those meetings will almost always equal non­compliance and poor adoption."

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