CWT Meetings & Events, via a partnership with meeting-booking platform MeetingPackage, has introduced a global direct-booking platform for small meetings, the company announced. Dubbed CWT Easy Meetings, the company said the platform gives meeting organizers access to more than 250,000 hotel and independent venues in more than 90 countries.
Users can access a website for one-off meetings, and a more customized version with additional design and reporting features is available for enterprise users. The platform provides a mix of live and on-request content, and the venues with live content upload their best prices available at that time, said CWT M&E global vice president of commercial Ian Cummings.
The non-customizable, standard version of the platform is free for users, and CWT M&E declined to specify if it receives a commission on bookings.
CWT M&E started working with MeetingPackage in 2016, mostly in Finland, then saw strong traction in 2018, CWT M&E Nordic commercial director Fredrik Hermelin told BTN. “From there it developed into what we see today, because the market also has matured along the way, and we saw the hotels coming on and the customers starting to say this is good technology,” he said.
CWT M&E piloted the tool with customers in Europe to understand implementation and solicit feedback, Cummings said. “We worked with MeetingPackage to make those adjustments into the tool and what it is today before we went global with it,” he added.
CWT M&E doesn’t define what a small meeting is, but Cummings noted most of the smaller meetings tend to hover around the 30-person attendee mark. “On this tool, if somebody wants to book a meeting for 15 or 20 people, it’s very easy,” he said. “If people are getting up toward the 50-person mark, then they’re more likely to want to send an email or pick up a phone or have a little bit more interaction on what the value might look like.”
Each venue on the platform has its own change and cancellation policies, which are available for users to see before finalizing a booking. Bookings can be modified or canceled on the platform. Cummings said that a majority of the venues have been vetted by CWT, and “we feel pretty strongly that should there be a cancellation or a challenge particularly during these difficult times, that we have a relationship established already to go back with an account manager, and I think that’s a key selling point for us.”
Hermelin added that many venues have updated their terms and conditions due to Covid-19, and “they have much more flexible terms and conditions now than they used to.”
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