The Future of Sales & Catering

Next-generation event management on the horizon will take the industry beyond the Banquet Event Order. The benefits of increased collaboration have not been fully realized in hospitality, and we see the event management space perfectly positioned as an entry point of change. We also consider the emergence of more information control key to enabling users to participate when and where they want, under the conditions that make sense to them.

Natural integration: intuitive and role-based

Technology providers and associations such as Hotel Technology Next Generation (HTNG) are already thinking beyond the system boundary to the business boundary, a fundamental principle of the collaborative environment into which we are headed. As a practical and simple example, a salesperson makes a special order for a top customer two weeks out. Unfortunately, the chef has already marked that item as something for which he needs three weeks of lead time to deliver. Better information control and capabilities to register for items of interest will enable immediate notification to the chef. This information broadcast, and increased collaboration, will extend beyond the traditional application boundary, resulting in increased interaction between internal groups, customers and even third-party providers in delivering a flawless experience. Such natural integration of user needs as the center of priority, rather than technology solutions, is very exciting.

Planner self-service: Controls will increase as online business matures

Planner self-service has already started for small meetings, allowing meeting planners to book an entire meeting online in two to three minutes, rather than the usual 24-48 hours manual scheduling demands. Over the next five years, the degree and complexity of business going online will increase each year. The experience for the user is changing. This will trigger an increase in controls for inventory exposure, rate management, and conflicting group controls. Every year will see increasing expectations as buyers adapt and change in response to technology in their personal lives and the business world.

What the future holds

Chains, management companies and other centralized sellers may realize the first big benefits of the emerging collaboration trend since understanding the uniqueness of individual properties will require visualization and data seamlessness. However, all operators will need to let people share information freely and sensibly. Those who fail to do this will have limited success.

Shawn B. McGowan is senior vice president, product development & support, Newmarket International. Reach him at 603-427-5989 and/or

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