Meetings technology giant Cvent, which has been touting the development of its Instant Book technology for a few years, will debut the new functionality in the Cvent Supplier Network next month. The tool will allow planners to search, compare real-time rates and
availability, and book rooms with a few clicks, bypassing the
request-for-proposal process typically required.
Speaking at the annual Cvent Connect user conference at Caesars Forum in Las Vegas, vice president of product management McNeel Keenan said that more than 2,000 venues, representing more than 200 cities, will have Instant Book functionality upon the feature's launch. Planners will be able to filter search results to see Instant Book-enabled properties and check for guest room and meeting room availability and rates based on dates and event size. Real-time rates will be shown for meeting-package options and room types, and can be booked instantly with a credit card.
Once reserved, a custom booking site is automatically generated for attendees, making it possible for planners to track room pickup.
To grow the available inventory, Cvent has inked a deal with Choice Hotels to integrate Instant Book functionality across the hospitality company's booking platform, available later in the third quarter this year. Properties that are joining the Choice distribution network as a result of the Radisson Hotels acquisition will gain access to Instant Book shortly thereafter. Choice is the first hotel company signed on to integrate the functionality companywide. Last fall, Sonesta announced its own Instant Book rollout at nearly half of its U.S. properties, and the company is continuing with a phased approach.
Cvent hasn't defined the parameters for what constitutes small, simple meetings and use of the tool. "We work with each hotel chain to set the parameters that work for them, rather than forcing a standardized definition," explained Cvent vice president of product management Jim Abramson. "There can be some variation between properties on items such as rates and applicable discount, but the broader meeting parameters tend to be fairly uniform and fixed across a brand’s properties."
Choice has yet to specify its Instant Book parameters. Cvent is in the process of onboarding several other companies, Abramson noted, and should be able to share names soon.
"This new functionality reflects our shared vision of making booking and managing meetings and events easier – for both planners and hoteliers alike," he added.
Cvent competitor Groups360 announced instant booking functionality with Choice in April and for Marriott International properties in January of this year, the latest in a handful of that company's instant booking agreements that also includes Hilton and Omni. The parameters and limits of Group360's instant-booking function likewise vary by hotel company.
Blackstone, an affiliate of which now owns Cvent, is also a significant investor in Groups360.