In mid-2019, four hotel companies—Accor, Hilton Worldwide, IHG, and Marriott International—made a combined $50 million investment in technology firm Groups360’s plan to develop a direct-booking engine for meetings with no RFP required. In March, IHG was the first company to launch the product, called GroupSync Engage, across nearly 30 properties of varying sizes.
Interestingly, none of the other three hotel-company investors was next. First, the Thompson Nashville, Virgin Hotels Nashville, and Atlantis Paradise Island launched GroupSync Engage. And now, Omni Hotels & Resorts has announced that it has rolled out the tool at its four Dallas-area properties—Omni Dallas, Omni Frisco, Omni Las Colinas, and Omni Fort Worth—with the remainder of its 50-property portfolio to offer the booking engine by September.
GroupSync Engage gives planners the ability to secure event space and guest rooms at group rates while viewing real-time availability of any space and rooms a property has made available through the tool over an event’s preferred dates.
As for why IHG was the first company to activate GroupSync Engage, Groups360 CEO Kemp Gallineau told MeetingsNet in late February that “they moved quickly on some of the integrations that needed to happen in order to make it work effectively for planners.”
Gallineau added that “the product is probably going to be for events needing 50 or fewer guest rooms, but you might see the next phase being repeat customers with a few hundred guest rooms using it to book because they already know what they need from that property.” For meetings of any size, the platform allows planners to customize session-room set-ups, audiovisual requirements, and food-and-beverage offerings.
IHG expects to have GroupSync Engage in use at about 500 of its more than 5,000 properties worldwide by the end of 2021. As for when Accor, Hilton, and Marriott might roll out GroupSync Engage at some of their properties, a spokesperson for Groups360 said, “There will be additional news coming soon.”