According to CBS News, event coordinators rank #6 for the most stressful jobs in 2019. Keeping up with day-to-day operations is not easy. Luckily, peace of mind can be as easy as having the right event lodging management software.
This guide will teach it all, from what this software is to choosing the right solution.
What is Event Lodging Management Software?
Event lodging management software creates efficiencies in the event housing lifecycle. It is used by event coordinators, planners and, more specifically, group housing professionals.
Good software has the ability to source, contract, manage, and invoice group bookings. There are separate solutions on the market for each of these areas, but great event lodging management software pulls them all into one application.
Benefits of Using this Software
A good software solution should relieve event planner stress by providing:
- Increased productivity
- The ability to manage events at scale
Partnering with the right event lodging management software can make the difference between unnecessary stress-factors and job fulfillment for event planners and group housing professionals.
In event lodging management software, transparency is the ability to view or share everything important. Event housing can involve hundreds if not thousands of details. A good application should provide a convenient way to manage all those details. Transparency should decrease the chances of overlooking or misplacing important information. That goes for all information—historical, current, and future.
No matter the level of urgency, it’s safe to assume that event lodging tasks are all important. However, the number of tasks can be overwhelming. Good event lodging management software should make completing tasks easier. Great software will eliminate certain tasks by automating routine processes.
Another helpful feature of group housing software is having clear, easy-to-use task lists. This feature further expedites getting stuff done. By organizing tasks and streamlining processes, event planners can see real productivity gains.
Usually, an event planner is planning more than one event at a time. Because of this, it is important to have software that can handle multiple events at once. A good event lodging management application should create so many productivity gains that a group housing professional will be able to take on more business than before.
Event lodging management software should also be able to handle any size event, from city-wide to a small group. Event planners want their businesses to grow. Their tools should be able to grow with them.
The features of an event lodging management solution are what will provide the benefits mentioned above. These features generally fall into four categories:
- Hotel sourcing and request for proposals (RFPs)
- Reservation distribution
- Room block management
- Reconciliation and invoicing
Look for the following functionality when evaluating software options.
Hotel Sourcing and Digital RFP Process
Most hotels require that reservation blocks of nine or more are negotiated through the hotel RFP process. A hotel request for proposal (RFP) is a formal solicitation for pricing on a block of hotel rooms and other amenities. For an event planner, manual hotel RFPs can be a daunting task. There are a lot of moving parts. However, an effective event lodging management solution should automate each step of the hotel RFP process.
Step #1: Create An RFP
A good solution should have an integrated hotel RFP module. An event coordinator should be able to enter all the details they need included in their RFP into the module. The software should then generate a digital RFP document that can be emailed.
Step #2: Send the RFP to Hotel Suppliers
From within the application, it should be easy to select hotels with which to contract blocks. The right solution should offer the ability to send the RFP to hotels digitally.
Step #3: Receive and Negotiate Bids
Event lodging management software should display all responses side-by-side. This makes it easy to compare them.
Step #4: Contract Blocks
Good software should offer a simple way to accept a bid. Great software will enable an event planner to execute a contract with a single click.
There are software solutions on the market that specialize in just hotel sourcing. However, effective event lodging management software integrates the hotel RFP process with tools for the rest of the event housing lifecycle.
Hotel Room Distribution
An event planner’s next task is to fill up the room blocks. Event lodging management software can facilitate this in a variety of ways.
One way in particular is to offer an integrated hotel booking engine. A booking engine is a website where guests can make hotel reservations. It should provide a user-friendly experience and be branded with the event’s logo and colors for consistency. It should also guide and instruct the end user what to do, and how to do it.
Room Block Management
Once a contract for a room block is signed and a way to distribute those rooms is set up, room blocks need to be managed. This can be done with a stand-alone room block management application. However, good event lodging management software should include room block management.
So, what do event planners need for effective room block management? Good event lodging management software will make it easy to …
- See rooms reserved vs. rooms still available (a.k.a. pickup and availability)
- Make changes to reservations
- Cancel reservations
- See rooming lists for each hotel
- Adjust inventory
- Respond to guests regarding any requests
- Work with the hotels to ensure reservations are captured
Reservations change daily—even hourly. Room block management software should automate handling those changes. It should also display any tasks an event planner needs to handle clearly.
Reconciliation and Invoicing
The last guest has checked out. Now, an event planner needs to settle up with their hotels. Event planners often earn commission and meeting planner points for bringing in lots of reservations for a hotel. Good event lodging management software should provide a room list that an event planner can use to reconcile who stayed at the hotel and who didn’t show up. Great software should provide a way to reconcile stays digitally. It should also provide the event planner with an invoice they can give to the hotel to collect their compensation and event planner points.
Group Productivity Solution
Many types of group housing professionals use Group Productivity Solution (GPS) for a variety of event types. The GPS application seamlessly integrates…
GPS stands out from other options in all the additional features it offers.
For instance, GPS is pre-populated with over 600,000 hotels and alternate housing options worldwide. This means that an event planner doesn’t have to research what hotels are in the area. GPS also allows the event planner to enter their event venue’s address and sort hotels by their proximity to the event venue.
RFPs can be customized for each hotel selected. Then they are sent digitally. The hotel and event planner electronically contract a block of rooms with a single click. The digital contract execution creates a block of rooms to be sold in GPS. This block lives in the room block management interface in GPS.
The room block management interface provides a birds-eye view of all reservations at a glance and allows the user to drill down to the tiniest detail. That interface also manages the event booking engine. Inventory recorded in the Room Manager section auto-populates into the booking engine.
The booking engine offered in GPS has many user-friendly features as well. It can be configured to allow one end user such as a group leader or point person to create a subblock. This puts a hold several rooms at a single hotel. GPS then provides a unique proprietary booking link to that point person so that their teammates or traveling companions can book within that subblock. Each person is able to guarantee their room on their own credit card.
GPS for Sports Travel
GPS is used for group housing for many types of events. However, it has found a special niche with the sports travel management segment. GPS is used for professional and amateur events, and for adult and youth competition levels. Learn more about how GPS powers youth sports tourism.
Get Started with GPS
To schedule a demo of GPS and learn more about what GPS can do for your business, fill out the contact form below.