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For several years, the meetings industry has been focused on the rise of event technology. Yet somehow “revenue management” software has been overlooked.
This year revenue management for meetings and events is the new new thing. This software forecasts interest in a function space and predicts the prices that will make the most money.
In 2015, Smart Space Strategy, a startup in London, launched to address that problem. Earlier this month, Smart Space Strategy was acquired by IDeaS Revenue Solutions, the Minneapolis-based provider of revenue management tools for hotels and casinos (owned by software group SAS).
Terms of the acquihire were not disclosed. All five team members will switch to IDeaS.
In two years, the startup signed up about 200 hotels and conference centers in the U.S., Britain, and Western Europe. IDeaS will continue to promote the product in those markets and also in Australia this year, including via cross-sales to its more than 8,700 hotel and casino clients in 106 countries.
The rise of revenue-management, which is sometimes called demand management, for meetings and events represents a game of catch-up. Hotels have already been using more software to predict demand and set rates for several years. For instance, in 2015, Booking.com bought the hotel revenue management startup Pricematch and has since been distributing a modified version of the product to hoteliers.
But the data crunchers have only now paid attention to the meetings and events side of the hotel business – which can account for 40 percent of revenue at some properties.
Sanjay Nagalia, chief operating officer for IDeaS, said the acquisition is a chance “to blend the traditionally siloed roles of revenue management and the events business.”
The news comes as event tech remains a buzzy sector for investors, attracting about $40 million in investment in 2016. In October, Social Tables, a Washington, D.C.-based event planning software company, had a $13 million Series B round.
Earlier this month, Eventerprise, a Cape Town-based marketplace for event vendors and hosts received additional funding that brought its funding to $1.4 million. It lists events globally, but so far has promoted itself most heavily in the UK and U.A.E.