Irish innovators MeetingsBooker.com is leading the way in digitalizing meeting venue discover and booking, a market set to grow substantially over the next three years.
Booking business travel and accommodation online has become so commonplace that many do not even consider looking beyond the internet for the booking phase.
Yet, when it comes to booking meeting space, the reverse is true – currently only approximately 2% of the $400 billion global meetings market is performed online. This represents a massive opportunity for companies in the travel tech sector to deliver streamlined digital solutions for those looking to maximise value for money while minimising time spent on the research and booking process.
One company ahead of the curve is MeetingsBooker.com, an Irish company on the forefront of disrupting the global meetings sector. Established by Ciarán Delaney, MeetingsBooker allows companies and individuals to easily discover and book over 137,000 meeting spaces in 134 countries.
How MeetingsBooker became the largest player in the online meeting reservations space
“In the last few years, digitization of meetings has become a hot topic. As an early adopter we are in a very strong position, having grown our meeting space portfolio substantially and developed our technology” explains Ciarán.
“Since the start, we have kept our focus on growing internationally. We are now the largest player in the online meeting venue reservations sector with the most venues and the strongest regional spread. Large multinational companies need an international solution, and our focus on covering as large a geographical spread as possible has given us a distinct advantage over regional competitors. Our focus is on continuing to innovate our platform and grow internationally.”
Innovation is at the heart of the MeetingsBooker business model, and that is something that has kept them at the forefront of the industry as it rapidly develops. “We are bringing a $400 billion global market from a manual phone and email booking into a fast digital online reservations environment. All our technology has been built in-house; we are constantly adding new innovative features that are completely unique in our sector.”
Focus on the end user helped MeetingsBooker to innovate
The idea for MeetingsBooker was born out of Ciarán’s experience of both sides of business travel – running events as market manager for Tourism Ireland and as a seller of conference space at Director of Marketing Dublin’s CityWest Hotel.
“Our focus with MeetingsBooker was first on the end user – giving them a platform to discover venues and then making it easier for them to book and pay. We help the end user discover over 137,000 meeting spaces around the world and easily book them online, saving time and money in the process. The platform is used for a wide range of meetings and events from a 10 person meeting booked online to a 250-person conference with group accommodation – and beyond.”
Serving the needs of enterprise travel managers
That is still very much the core of the business, but thanks to its international portfolio of meeting spaces, MeetingsBooker has since developed to cater for large organisations with an enterprise offering.
“What’s changed in the last few years is that we’ve started to work with the travel managers in the larger corporations. The travel manager’s job is to monitor and drive savings for all areas of business travel. We offer a technology solution whereby their employees have a customized version of MeetingsBooker that they use as part of their business travel booking tools, and the platform reports back to the travel manager detailed analytics covering how much they are spending on meetings and events around the world.
“We have also partnered with the world’s largest business travel agency, American Express GBT, to power a new online booking solution for them and their clients, which is a really exciting opportunity for us as they manage over $23 billion in business travel.”
With the market set to really explode over the next few years, MeetingsBooker is in a remarkably strong position to continue leading the sector.
“We are seeing rapid adoption now in our sector,” says Ciarán. “Only 2% of this $400 billion market is online, we estimate this to grow to 70% within three years. We are now starting to power bookings for hotel groups on their own websites. This will be a significant growth area for us over the short term as the market moves from manual to online reservations.”
“EMEA is our strongest market. However, we are now expanding into the US. Over the last number of months we have partnered with some of the most exciting new meeting space providers in the US including Breather, Convene and Serendipity Labs. This will help us grow our venue density and choice in the US and allow us to ramp up US bookings from our global corporate clients. Enterprise Ireland [the trade and innovation agency] has been a great help as we expand internationally; as well as investment through its High Potential Start-Up fund, their local knowledge, expertise and support have been invaluable.”