Skift Take

Companies that raised money before the crisis are sailing through it. Look at Groups360, which got $50 million from Marriott International, IHG, Accor, and Hilton a year ago, and has grown since.

Coronavirus has crushed the hotel and meeting industries, but it hasn’t stopped some travel tech companies from growing.

Groups360, a booking engine for meeting space that a year ago received a $50 million investment from Marriott International, InterContinental Hotels Group, Accor, and Hilton, is expanding to Asia Pacific. It has bought IDEM Hospitality, a Singapore-based events tech firm.

The companies didn’t disclose the terms of the deal. All four hotel groups remain invested in Nashville-based Groups360.

“This is the first investment in a long-term commitment to the region,” said Kemp Gallineau, CEO of Groups360.

Groups360 gains a sales and product development office in Singapore with this deal. Already the company, which has offices in Nashville and London, is advertising for developers in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam.

IDEM’s staff are now a part of Groups360, bringing the firm’s staff count to about 70 employees, up 20 from a year ago. IDEM branding will go away as the parent company integrates its tech, a spokesperson said.

Groups360’s software lets hotels and event planners arrange events, such as corporate meetings, conferences, and trade shows, more efficiently. It lists more than 200,000 properties, up by 30,000 from a year ago.

IDEM’s software strove to help hoteliers boost direct bookings, food and beverage revenue, and loyalty program memberships through smarter digital interactions with event attendees.

Hotel Giants Seek Event Tech Alternatives

As Skift has reported before, the global hotel groups invested in Groups360 in the hopes of having a meeting booking engine that runs for their different brands and provides other choices to providers like Cvent that have a large share of the market for event space booking. For context, see “Does a Hotel-Backed Meetings Booking Platform Stand a Chance?

But Cvent and its peer companies say they’ve refined their products to be best-in-class. For context, see EventMB’s recent interview with Cvent’s CEO Reggie Aggarwal on the future of the events industry.

Groups360’s signature product, GroupSync Supplier Solutions, aims to help hoteliers boost their bottom lines by allocating group inventory through many distribution channels at a low cost. It allows hotels to manage their inventory, and it provides a white-label booking engine for hotels to put on their sites and comes with attendee management tools. GroupSync enables pre-approved requests for proposal, cutting out a chunk the planners’ workload during the buying process.

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Tags: event tech, groups360, ihg, marriott, meetings, meetings and events, meetingsiq, mergers and acquisitions

Photo credit: Hilton aims to host meetings and events with coronavirus preventative measures in place. The hotel group is a financial backer of Groups360, a platform that simplifies bringing people together for meetings and events, which has bought IDEM Hospitality in Singapore. Hilton

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