In this exclusive interview, PA Life talked to Christine Wassell, Area Director of Meeting & Events for UK, Ireland & Western Europe at Radisson Hotel Group talks about its real-time, instant online booking platform – Book It Easy. We focused on covering how the platform can help our audience of PAs, EAs and other business support professionals, all of whom book business travel service for their companies.
“We are incredibly proud to have launched our Book It Easy tool successfully across key hotels in our EMEA portfolio over the last 12 months. Radisson Hotel Group has a strong reputation for delivering world-class meetings and events facilities, and we are now making the booking process even easier. We conducted extensive research with our valued meetings and events partners to create this new platform and to ensure it includes all the technology and information required for a seamless, real value, and real time experience.”
What are the biggest trends shaping meetings and events?
Live events are back with a bang, and budgets, the number of meetings, and the number of attendees, are all expected to increase this year compared with 2022, with M&E business in some countries already back or even beyond 2019 levels.
The rise of remote working means that companies are recognising the importance and value of bringing employees together more than ever. It’s also influencing the types of events clients are booking – we’re seeing more enquiries for events that prioritise building connection and culture, such as networking and rewards or recognition, over education and learning.
Sustainability is high on the agenda for event planners. Most global corporations have made sustainability a strategic priority and are considering this aspect in everything they do, including their events programme. Most attendees of meetings and events also have a strong social conscience – if a host cannot meet their expectations, they are less likely to join or to return to future events.
The emergence of disruptive technologies and the development of existing technologies have drastically changed the way organisers plan and market events. The events industry is hungry for new, more efficient ways of working. Simplifying venue sourcing and booking processes has become an absolute necessity. Meeting organizers need solutions that save time on processes and logistics, allowing them to focus their attention on the attendee experience.
How is Radisson Hotel Group adapting its offering to these trends?
Sustainability is a top priority for us. We are committed to becoming net zero by 2050 and we actively strive to reduce our carbon footprint by finding energy-efficient solutions and increasingly using renewable energy sources. Specifically for sustainable meetings and events, we automatically offset the carbon footprint of every single meeting and event taking place at any of our hotels worldwide, at no cost to the meeting booker. We do this in partnership with First Climate, one of the world’s largest carbon offset organizations.
Regarding technology and the immense opportunities this brings to improving venue sourcing, Radisson Hotel Group has developed and rolled out its innovative real-time, online instant booking platform, Book it Easy. This new digital solution allows planners to save valuable time when sourcing a venue for their meetings and events and to significantly reduce admin tasks, with an average time of under two minutes to find and book a meeting space online.
How does Book It Easy improve the meeting planning experience?
From venue searching and virtual site inspections to real-time availability and instant booking confirmations, Book It Easy helps event organizers save hours of precious time at every step of the planning process, making the process faster and more efficient.
Planners can simply enter their event details and review real-time availability based on specific event requirements, as well as Daily Delegate Rates available. Bespoke filters assist with the hotel and event selection, for example, room shapes, price range, hotel brand, etc. as well as the ability to click on a map view to see the location of the different event spaces in the city.
The 3D virtual tours allow for less time-consuming site inspections. Immersive virtual tours provide meeting planners with an exact digital replica of the venue so planners can evaluate if the spaces are what they are looking for and book them instantly. Planners can also measure the room, check alternative set-ups, and explore floor plans in an interactive manner.
What type and size of meetings is this intended to serve?
For small and simple meetings and events, it makes sense to automate the process. That is why our platform is an ideal booking solution for meetings of up to 50 attendees.
Will corporate bookers be guaranteed the best prices when booking online?
Absolutely! Planners can book their meetings online with peace of mind knowing that they will benefit from the best available rates.
Where is this instant online booking solution available?
We launched this solution in January 2022, and since then we have rolled it out at a fast pace. Today meeting organisers can book instantly online at 116 hotels across 20 countries, and we continue to expand, aiming to double this number by the end of 2023.
Is this a recommended tool for inexperienced meetings and events organisers?
Book It Easy is as it says; easy to use for all levels. Its simple layout is easy to follow, and it was developed for small to medium bookings, taking away the hassle of having to contact various venues separately.
Do you have any advice for PAs and EAs as regards to venue and room bookings?
Don’t be afraid of booking online, it is really as simple as we say. Come and give it a try, if you recall, bedrooms, flights, trains and holidays all used to be offline and now we don’t think twice about booking online, so trust us.
The Book It Easy platform is the latest offering from Radisson Meetings which promises the same personal, professional and memorable experience. Radisson Meetings provide tailored solutions for any event or meeting, including hybrid solutions placing guests and their needs at the heart of its offer.
You can also read about Radisson Hotel Group’s sustainable meetings and events offerings.