Tourism Red Deer and a group of local hotels have set up a combined reservation system that should simplify group bookings and could attract more events to the city.
The 10 hotels that contribute to the Red Deer Destination Marketing Fund have purchased the Meetingmax system, Internet-based software through which attendees of local events will be able to find and book accommodation. Tourism Red Deer will manage the system and host it on its website.
Groups and organizations that hold events in Red Deer, such as sports tournaments, can register with Tourism Red Deer, explained Liz Taylor, the agency’s executive director. Tourism Red Deer will then arrange for the required number of hotel rooms to be held and made available through Meetingmax, where options can be viewed and compared.
“The attendees’ ease of use is way, way easier having one portal where all the participating hotels are located instead of going out to all these different websites,” said Jeff Duncan, president and chief operating officer of Vancouver-based Meetingmax Systems.
The system also enables event organizers to track who is attending and where they will be staying. And customized information can be provided to registrants, such as directions to and from venues, or coupons for select restaurants or attractions, said Taylor.
Having Meetingmax could boost Red Deer’s appeal as a place to hold major events, said Duncan.
“One of the reasons for getting the system in place is to be more competitive in the marketplace.”
Taylor agreed, adding that it will also allow Tourism Red Deer to connect with event planners when they register to use Meetingmax.
“This way we have a conversation with the event organizers, which we’ve never had before — we’ve had no way of even tracking them.”
This will give will Tourism Red Deer the opportunity to discuss with planners the timing of their events, said Taylor. If a date is already busy for local hoteliers, the organizers could be asked to choose another — perhaps with the incentive of discounted room rates.
“We can now space out our bookings to increase overall occupancy and improve the guest experience.”
Taylor said the Meetingmax system is already operational. All that’s needed are events to list on it.
“What we have to do now is get to the sports organizers and the groups and let them know that we have this system; let them know what’s available to them.”
The Red Deer Destination Marketing Fund is used to promote the city, with member hotels paying a percentage of their room revenues into it.
The Meetingmax system is used by tourism agencies and other groups across North America, with expansion into Europe and Australia planned, said Duncan. He noted that Red Deer is one of the smaller cities to use it.