Expedia Disrupts MICE Industry with New, Automated Online Booking Engine for Meetings & Events
Expedia, Inc., an online travel company, announced its automated MICE online booking engine has started rolling out to select strategic hotel partners in the United States. Part of Expedia Powered Technology, the white-label technology solution is a ready-to-implement, back-end software that hotels can integrate into their own websites. The technology can accelerate and simplify an expensive and historically time-consuming RFP process for small-to-medium-sized meetings and events, and enable hotels to answer RFPs approximately 20 times faster.
The MICE market is perfectly positioned and primed for technology-led disruption. It represents a $400 billion global industry accounting for $121 billion in direct travel expenditures, with four out of every 10 dollars spent on business travel in the United States attributable to the MICE market. It’s also an industry that is led by small meetings, typically fewer than 25 participants2, which is a segment ripe for automation and digitization. Despite this, a significant portion of MICE business is done through an inefficient, manual and labor-intensive RFP process. Expedia’s MICE booking solution can enable U.S. hotels to maximize the potential for their meeting and event spaces, while managing and growing meetings and events revenue through process efficiency, and can increase MICE sales prospects. By automating the MICE planning and booking process for smaller meetings, hotel sales managers can focus their time and effort on larger or more complex, and higher margin RFPs, and help to maximize revenue.
The Expedia MICE booking engine allows meeting and event planners to instantly search, price, configure and book meeting space online, including any AV, equipment and catering needs, as well as group lodging. Hotels can leverage the white label technology solution for one or hundreds of properties. Integrated revenue management tools can link up to a hotel’s property management system to enable hotels to adjust their meeting and group prices dynamically to help increase revenue. This can be based on multiple dynamic factors tailored to the individual hotel’s requirements, including seasonality, day of the week, room type, and number of participants.
According to Expedia, MICE is a massive market and growing opportunity for hotels, but there has never been a scalable or effective solution for hotels to manage and grow meetings and events revenue and bookings online. This technology solution was designed specifically to address a pain point for our hotel partners, as well as automate a traditionally frustrating process for meeting planners.
Rolled out first in Germany with select hotel partners, initial results from the test period with Best Western Hotels Central Europe have shown a significant improvement in the RFP process. The technology moved the quote response time from an average of five hours to an average of just 14 minutes, from initial request to the quote being sent to the customer. The solution has now rolled out with additional chain partners and independent hotels throughout EMEA and APAC, and partner discussions are well underway with U.S. chains.
“Initial results back from our test period in Germany show that the quote generator enables us to answer RFPs about 20 times faster. The manual process takes about five hours on average for the customer to receive a quote. With the automated process, we can decrease the average response time to just 14 minutes on average” says Marina Christensen, Director Sales & Marketing Corporate, MICE and Group Travel, Best Western Hotels Central Europe, Eschborn/Germany
Expedia’s MICE online booking engine is part of the Expedia Powered Technology toolkit, which puts Expedia technology expertise to work for hotel partners, bringing tested and proven solutions to market to impact their bottom line.
1 Initial results from Best Western Hotels Central Europe test period in Germany
2 CWT 2017 Meetings & Events Forecast
3 USTA Meetings Mean Business: Economic Impact of Meetings and Business Event