Urgency without disruption – app solves problem for event planning

As the director of operations at an Ottawa hotel, Nyle Kelly wasn’t satisfied when his customer’s staff planner would leave their booked meeting and place a call on a cell phone or find a nearby landline to communicate a request to the hotel staff.
So Kelly and Brookstreet Hotel, a boutique inn near the city’s tech companies, have begun testing an app since December that will put an end to that, keeping his customer’s meetings running without disruption.

The app “allows them a tool to communicate with us in real time without interrupting their event,” he said. Meanwhile hotel staff have a “discrete and unobtrusive way” of communicating with the planners.

That’s why Ottawa startup Benbria Corp. this week released a version of its cloud-based BlazeLoop messaging solution aimed at hotel event planners.

Called Mobile Event Engagement, it lets private meeting planners who work for corporations, conventions or weddings to text hotel staff about last-minute changes – more coffee is needed, please turn up the heat, the digital projector is broken – without having to leave the meeting.

Whoever the planner deals with at the hotel gets messages fast, can forward them to the appropriate staff and has a record of all requests and whether they were satisfied.

The hope is that a satisfied planner will recommend the hotel to clients for future events. Meanwhile the hotel can keep tabs on the changes for accurate billing.

“Because it’s a Web-based, the meeting planner doesn’t have to download anything,” said Tony Busa, Benbria’s director of marketing.

Busa said the service is aimed at any sized hotel, from large chains to individual hotel. The institution pays for the service, which is free to planners.

He said monthly pricing depends on the size of the hotel.

Mobile Event Engagement includes a Web portal that ties into a hotel’s communications system. The simple interface – which can be customized –breaks down possible issues to four categories (food and beverage, meeting room, audio-visual and other) – with subgroups for quick messaging.

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Howard Solomon
Howard Solomon
Currently a freelance writer. Former editor of ITWorldCanada.com and Computing Canada. An IT journalist since 1997, Howard has written for several of ITWC's sister publications, including ITBusiness.ca. Before arriving at ITWC he served as a staff reporter at the Calgary Herald and the Brampton (Ont.) Daily Times.

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