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Yan HeimA friend of mine who owns a state of the art dance studio in the San Francisco Bay Area recently received two private event bookings from clients on the East Coast. When I asked how the clients found him, he didn’t have a clue.  He eventually found out that they originally found his studio through a well established directory service site. The irony is, when the directory service site sent him the RFP requests, he simply deleted the inquiries as he thought they were spam. The clients eventually tracked him down through his own website.

This reminds me of the article “Seeking Decent Proposals – Why Online RFPs are a Mixed Blessing for Planners and Hoteliers” that was published in Meetings and Conventions Magazine in May 2012.

Bruce MacMillan_former MPI President-CEOBruce MacMillan, the former president and CEO of Meeting Professional International (MPI) recently told me that technology has brought more complexity to the event industry rather than simplifying it. Venues have been flooded with RFPs that have resulted in a less than 5% successful closing rate. On the other hand, wouldn’t it be beneficial for event planners to have tools that enable them to send a single RFP to 20 different venues simultaneously? Have advanced directory services made the event planner’s job easier?

That is indeed a perplexing question but here’s Bruce’s perspective:

“In an industry that touts itself as being relationship-based (it is after all an industry all about “human connections”), technology has actually made the relationships less valuable because now EVERYONE can have access. Technology has democratized the industry on one hand and made it less human on the other. That’s an observation not a judgment.

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That means that if a planner has nurtured some key relationships with venues, now EVERYONE can have access, all at the click of a few keys. The channel is now considerably more cluttered because the barriers to entry are lower and there’s no incremental cost to adding a few more venues to the RFP blast. Planners and suppliers are now both struggling with a cluttered channel.

The impact is that venues now have to manage a TON more opportunities…and so their attention to their long-standing relationships has been considerably diluted. Planners are not getting the care and attention they have become used to. In effect, they have been commoditized.

For venues…they now have to manage a DELUGE of RFP’s… Their indirect costs of managing sales go up. Their closing rates go down. And their core customer planners are now not happy with the altered relationship paradigm.”

The added complexity brought on by advanced directory services is why I’ve been stubborn about not making Froomz another fancy version of directory service.  Our mission is to transform the way people search for and book event/meeting space by bringing pricing transparency and availability to the event industry.

I’ve been told that it is not the “industry standard” to publish the price. The argument for not publishing the price is to allow for negotiation. Yet, how would you start a negotiation if you didn’t know the price out of the gate?

Our mission is to transform the way people search for and book event/meeting space by bringing pricing transparency and availability to the event industry.

I enjoy reading our venues’ profiles on Froomz. I have been pleasantly surprised by how reasonably priced some of the meeting facilities in the hotels are. These rates typically are not published anywhere, not even on their own websites!

I want to give a big shout out to the forward thinking venues listed on Froomz, because they are bucking the trend with us — they are the real force that will transform the industry.

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I invite you to check out those venues on Froomz. You will love the dynamic pricing that reflects venue’s business demand during different times of the day and different days of the week. Price out your event with just a few clicks and let the venue know that you’ve done your homework if you’d like to negotiate.

The industry won’t move unless you, the customers, drive the demand. In the age of self-service, customers demand instant access to information, and the event industry should not be an exception. Let us know if the transparent pricing is making your event planning more efficient, and if so, help us spread the word.

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