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Groups360 to Add New Group-Housing Tools

The meeting-technology company has announced a partnership with Destinations International, positioning it for a rollout of new services to the convention market.

Meeting-technology company Groups360 has announced a partnership with Destinations International, a global trade association for convention and visitors bureaus, ahead of two product launches coming later this year.

The company, whose investors include Marriott International, Accor, Hilton, and InterContinental Hotels Group, offers a tool called GroupSync, an online marketplace for meeting bookings. Users can search for meeting properties, send RFPs, and, at some hotel brands, self-book small meetings based on real-time space inventory.

GroupSync also includes a group-housing solution, which will be the basis of one of the company’s new products. The tool currently allows a hotel to create a housing site for an event: A link to the site is sent to attendees, where they can book and manage their hotel reservations, and planners have access to a dashboard to track and manage the room block. Starting later this year, Groups360 will roll out a version of the GroupSync housing solution for convention bureaus that provide room-block management as a service to multi-hotel meetings and events booked into their city.

How will GroupSync’s housing technology improve on existing systems, like Passkey? Hal Hassall, vice president of marketing at Groups360, says the company will compete based on its tool’s ease of setup for convention bureaus, the ease of use for attendees, and lower costs. Rather than charging a licensing fee, says Hassall, “most of Group360’s business model is transaction-based. Therefore, it’s a very competitive variable cost.”

The second product rolling out this fall will further monetize the GroupSync online marketplace. Groups360 plans to offer destination marketing organizations the ability to add information and images to their listings, a feature already available to hotels. “There's no paid placement in GroupSync,” says Hassall. “Unlike legacy systems, you can't buy your way to the top of [ the listings]. … However, we believe that you should have the ability to curate your property or, in the case of a DMO, your city or your destination by adding high-value content that appeals to your audience.”

On the new relationship with Destinations International, Hassall notes that “they think what we're doing will benefit their members. We believe their members will agree, and we're trying to make sure we have a good market fit by listening to their members as we fine-tune and release a tech product for that specific corner of the group marketplace.”

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