Skift Take

Cvent’s senior vice president, hospitality cloud shares what the company is all about and its view of what’s in store for both live meeting inventory and industry tech tools.

An industry leader for 19 years, Cvent continues to innovate.

The meeting technology company offers hoteliers lower customer acquisition costs than other event booking providers, according to Bharet Malhotra, senior vice president, hospitality cloud. He also explained the cause of live meeting inventory technology delays and noted that Cvent is keeping an eye on emerging industry technologies.

Malhotra spoke with Skift founder and CEO Rafat Ali at Skift Global Forum 2018 about the company’s mission and where the industry is going.

“Our platform is commission-free, so it ends up being a low cost of customer acquisition,” Malhotra explained. “We’ve given thousands of hotels hundreds of millions of dollars in business for free.”

However, hotels aren’t ready to return the favor by sharing live rooms and meeting space inventory with tech providers. Online travel agencies (OTAs) made hoteliers skittish about sharing such information –– plus suppliers worry that “the minute they do it, someone will capitalize and start going up on commissions and attacking that segment that they own completely,” he said.

But all factions can help each other, Malhotra said. “We have to make sure there’s some balance where they don’t feel threatened. Hotels want to do this, but you have to get both sides of the equation to work together.”

Meanwhile, he sees “a lot of really cool stuff” on the technology horizon. Facial recognition, already on smartphones, can be used to print badges as soon as a registrant arrives, and RFID data showing attendee activity can be integrated with sales software programs to put products in front of likely buyers.

First though, planners must take advantage of technology, Malhotra said. “We did a study a while ago, revealing that meeting planners are embracing technology at a much faster rate than suppliers. The more we can maintain that equilibrium, the better the ecosystem will end up being.”

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Tags: cvent, meetings and events, sgf2018, skift global forum

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