Which new technologies are revolutionising the events industry? Conference delegates heard the latest ideas and tips.
Hosted by NFS Technology Group and Londonlaunch, the event brought together guest speakers from across the hospitality technology industry to give their views – and outline their vision.
Luis De Souza, Chief Executive Officer of NFS Technology Group, told a packed audience that five key drivers are creating colossal change in the industry.
1) The vast increase in search tools and online reviews
2) New technologies for search and social engagement
3) Big data tools providing better segmentation
4) Virtual reality, enabling a 360 degree experience
5) ‘Uberisation’ to maximise bookings.
The latest version of Rendezvous, NFS’ market-leading venue management software system, has now been launched to help venues take advantage of each of these elements.
“Implications for the meeting venue business are huge,” he told delegates.
“Online will deliver a greater proportion of their revenue, and IT services will become a key differentiator in making their venue the one customers choose.
“Operations will become smoother, more efficient and less labour-intensive, thanks to the potential for technology to automate tedious manual tasks for the venue sales team such as entering bookings into the system.”
Thought Leadership and Key Industry Insights
Luis was joined on stage by Peter Heath, Managing Director of partners Londonlaunch who co-organised the briefing as part of their Insight series of events.
He said: “Our product helps people source the perfect venue they need for their event, then Rendezvous from NFS helps them run it smoothly, so this was an excellent event to talk to delegates about the complete meeting journey.”
Other speakers included NFS’ Charlie Paterson and Deborah Dew, who outlined the capabilities of Rendezvous Version 5, and Sanj Naha, Head of Sales and Marketing at TheFork, a Tripadvisor company.
Sanj outlined ways venues can use review feedback to enhance their value proposition, and advised on how to encourage customers to post positive reviews.
He also talked about tracking online traffic to optimise user experience on a website, and targeting messaging to convert online traffic into leads, bookings or calls to action.
The event was continued by Kevin Doorley from the hospitality division of Harman who spoke on his venue technology solutions for 2020, and closed by Richard John, who gave a provocative view on Vision v Reality.
All speakers then took part in a panel discussion with questions from the audience.
Luis De Souza said: “We were delighted at the enthusiastic response from the audience at the briefing, and we’d like to thank all of our speakers for their useful and thought-provoking presentations.
“With the meeting venue operators at an earlier stage of digital technical adoption when compared to, say, the hotel operator, our event was particularly well timed to provoke this important debate.
“The meeting venues industry is really waking up to the benefits that the latest technology such as Rendezvous can bring in terms of customer service, offering customers online booking facilities as well as smoothing operations, automating tasks and freeing up staff for interacting with clients.
“Our event provoked lively debate and some excellent feedback from attendees, and we hope to work with Londonlaunch on further useful seminars – there’s a huge appetite from venue operators for information in this area.”