By John Gallery, Great Potential Marketing and Management Consultants
After a break of around six years since selling LateMeetings.com to Expotel (now part of Capita), I find myself back in the meeting venue online booking arena.
The meetings, conference and events market has been a tough place to be operating in that time and I’m looking at how things have moved forward especially with the advances in social media.
There is a plethora of offers to venues to join the ‘latest’ online booking tool for meetings and events. There are some old favourites such as venuefinder.com; venuedirectory.com; chooseyourvenue.com; venues.org to name just a few.
Most conference booking agencies have embraced systems that provide their teams with tools that are making the management of clients and their events operate more efficiently and integrate with their other management tools.
Cvent; eTouches; Eventbrite and whova.com are some of the tools out there and all do the job of managing data in their own way giving users different experiences but not all-encompassing.
There’s much talk about social media increasing engagement across the delegate piece but the expected rise in video-conferencing seems not to have had the negative impact on face-to-face events that many commentators predicted.
There seems now to be a new wave of entrepreneurs attempting to do what we did in our clunky way in the early noughties with LateMeetings.com (That brand has now been hijacked by Chinese cyber squatters by the way…) with the integration of better software, multiple devices plus savvy and discerning users.
Now we are talking brands such as Hirespace, Canvas, meetingsbooker and iBookedIn.com. These new tools claim that they are providing online direct booking of live meeting space availability and prices but, when I tested them all recently, only one is providing the full live, online service while the rest are sophisticated enquiry/rfp services. iBookedIn.com passed my ‘Does it truly book the venue space direct online’ test.
I was told by many that it could not be done, but we did it with LateMeetings.com and it now looks, to me anyway, that iBookedIn.com has done it again in this latest new wave for online meetings and events.