HELSINKI, FINLAND – MeetingPackage and CWT Meetings & Events, the M&E division of the leading global travel management company, have today launched their direct-booking platform for small meetings, name CWT easy meetings. The platform will give meeting organizers access to over 250,000 meeting rooms in hotels (both chain and independent) as well as unique venues and event spaces in more than 130 countries.
The CWT easy meetings platform, designed in partnership with CWT and powered by MeetingPackage technology, provides an easy one-stop shop to source and book venues, alongside food and beverage packages, audio-visual equipment and other services. The solution also provides travel and meetings managers with greater visibility and control over their small meetings programme so they can better manage costs, compliance as well as employee safety and security.
“We’re delighted to see CWT easy meetings launched on a global basis and excited for what it means for the future of M&E,” said Joonas Ahola, CEO and Founder of MeetingPackage. “We can see more than ever in the current trading environment that the subject of process automation and digitization has really come to the fore as venues realize that manual processes have become transparently unsustainable. On the client side, what we’ve seen with CWT and their clients is that corporates are looking for a simple, transparent and efficient way of making M&E bookings. We’ve worked with CWT and many of their clients in recent months to really nail down what we think the industry needs.”
Chris Bowen, SVP & Managing Director of CWT Meetings & Events commented on the partnership, “Before the pandemic, many of our clients spent up to 70% of their meetings and events budget on small meetings. As the desire for real engagement grows and face-to-face business meetings gradually resume, we expect this figure to increase due to restrictions on group sizes and safe distancing requirements. Surprisingly however, most organizations still don’t have any standardized processes or solutions to manage small meetings, the way they do for large events or transient business travel."
Bowen continued, “With CWT easy meetings, we’re making the search and booking process simple and efficient for meeting organizers, eliminating the need for them to manually search for open and available venues. At the same time, we’re helping companies consolidate crucial information about their meetings spend and activities that will enable better cost control and risk management.”
The standard version of the platform, which is ideal for one-off meetings, is free for any meeting organizer to use and allows planners to easily search, compare and instantly book meetings. It is globally accessible via a website that is desktop, tablet and mobile-enabled, and is available in eight languages. Payments can be made using a credit card, virtual card, or lodge card, and bookings can be easily modified or cancelled through the platform.
As part of a successful European customer pilot, MeetingPackage has worked together with CWT Meetings and Events in recent months to develop a series of enhancements, customizations, features and branding so the platform can be tailored to match corporate’s specific requirements both functionally and from a brand perspective. Corporates are also able to upload pre-negotiated rates and unique venues that are accessible exclusively by their employees. Clients’ preferred venues and partners can be highlighted within the tool and made to appear at the top of search results. Payment modes can also be configured so that users do not have to enter this information every time they book. In terms of reporting and business intelligence, personalized dashboards and reports give full visibility of bookings made by the organization’s employees using the platform, and provide the ability to track bookings, cancellations, volumes and spend by supplier, user or meeting location.
It is estimated that in 2019, more than EUR 100 billion was spent globally on small meetings of under one hundred delegates and the vast majority of these events are still planned and booked offline.
Joonas Ahola added, “As we see CWT and Meetings and Event agencies at large embrace online booking for M&E, we’re sure that venues too will benefit from greater transaction volumes and a far healthier relationship between enquiries and transactions. Once the present pandemic crisis passes, this is going to massively improve our industry.”