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Premier Inn Rolls Out New Software to Increase Meeting Room Revenue

Hotel Business

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Premier inn has rolled out meeting room booking software from Meetings Maker across all of its hotels with meeting rooms throughout the UK. Committed to offering quality, affordable accommodation to its customers, Premier Inn already had a comprehensive online system for booking bedrooms, but wanted to extend this level of service to its customers looking for meeting room facilities.

The challenge

Although online booking for hotel bedrooms is now standard industry practice, most hotels still rely on manual bookings for their meeting rooms and event spaces. The task usually falls to the front desk staff with 75 per cent of all meeting room enquiries being for meetings with fewer than 40 people, and filling meeting rooms is generally less lucrative than filling bedrooms. This, coupled with an inefficient managing and booking process, meant the filling meeting rooms often fell down the priority list for hotel staff. The challenge for Premier Inn was to create and implement a system that was simple for customers and hassle free for hotel teams.

“Our meeting rooms were often underused or sitting empty as the booking process was cumbersome. We were looking for a solution that would make it as easy for our customers to book a meeting room at our hotels, as it is a bedroom. That’s when we found Meetings Maker,” said Keith Hudspith, head of food and beverages at Premier Inn.

The solution

Most hotels still rely on manual systems to book meeting rooms because the bookings themselves are much more complex, and therefore more difficult to automate, than bedrooms. While bedrooms are booked on a nightly basis, meeting rooms can be booked hourly, for fractions of days or for whole days.

The number of people in a meeting, the size and set up of a room and catering options also need to be factored in when making a booking. In addition, manually tracking and recording every enquiry can also be a challenge as they come in via the phone, email, static online booking forms and also via walk-up enquiries from guests at the front desk.

“ We visited hotels across the UK and USA as part of our research in developing Meetings Maker, “ said Matthew Stubbs, CEO of parent company, Your Workspaces. “We found hotels facing the same problems time and again. As a result, Meetings Maker factors in all of these parameters and allows guests themselves to book and pay for a meeting room just as easily they would a bedroom. Its map and photo features mean that customers can see where the hotel meeting room is on the same screen as what the room looks likes, making the process as friendly and easy to use, as possible.”

Premier Inn recognised Meetings Maker’s expertise and selected its fully hosted software as a service solution. “We wanted a system connected to our website where our customers could book and pay for meeting room directly. It was essential that it fitted in well with the design of our core website and provided the same outstanding user experience our customers were used to. Meetings Maker’s real time system did all of this for us and incorporated the latest secure technology,” said Mr Hudspith.

The complete solution was successfully rolled out in just a few weeks without disrupting Premier Inn’s business or impacting on its main site at all. In addition to implementing the software, Meetings Maker established a 24/7/365 centralised enquiry centre for Premier Inn, which handles all meeting room queries and includes a full service, PCI and DSS compliant payment process so customers can talk to a real person any time of the day or night.

Business benefits

All of Premier Inn’s meeting room bookings are now handled by the Meetings Maker system, which has cut the customer’s time taken to book from hours or days to minutes. The hotel chain is already seeing an uplift in bookings as a result.

Premier Inn has also modified its meeting room standards and pricing, including common requests as standard and with meeting rooms service corresponding to the quality and value that customers expect from the Premier Inn brand. Every meeting room now includes free multi-device WiFi, free still and sparkling bottled water, flipcharts and pens.

Premier Inn Rolls Out New Software to Increase Meeting Room Revenue