How INFORMS reduced planner workload and enhanced CX by Integrating Stay22

Learn how INFORMS meetings uses Stay22 to build a better user experience by providing easy accommodation to their attendees.

INFORMS meeting planners turned to Stay22 when their room block filled just weeks before a multi-day, up to 6000-person event. Meeting planners needed to take action immediately. By implementing the Stay22 accommodation map, it created an overall positive customer experience for their last minute hotel reservations.

Event planner profile: 10+ meetings per year 2-5 days long 1,000 - 6,000 attendees 75% academics, 25% business professionals

INFORMS is an international organization with over 12,500 members from around the world. INFORMS meeting planners coordinate the attendance of members from multiple continents to the meetings they plan each year.

The challenge:

Meetings take months of planning. INFORMS holds over 10 meetings per year of up to 6000 attendees, so meeting planners at INFORMS are constantly busy. While venue, scheduling, materials, food and beverage are all front of mind for planners, the 100 to 6000 people attending each meeting are the priority. Without them, INFORMS meetings could not take place. These individuals, from business professionals to academics, require accommodation at or with easy accessibility to the meeting venue.

Like most meeting planners, INFORMS uses room blocks by negotiating contracts with hotels. The only drawback of the room block model is the risk of booking too few rooms, coupled with the inconvenience of finding more at a particularly busy time for the planners.

“Looking for a hotel is time-consuming. Forty-five days out, we are too busy to find additional hotels at the last minute.”

Securing a room block contract nearby an event venue, all while the event itself looms closer and closer, is a meeting planner’s nightmare. Multiple days or even weeks can go by until the research, negotiations and contract are settled. Meanwhile, meeting attendees grow restless and anxious, hoping they will secure a room and their plans won’t fall through. The customer experience can be quite negative.

“If we run out of rooms, we want additional housing options on our website in 24 hours. The information that you had was immediate and comprehensive.”

Thankfully, INFORMS found Stay22 - a perfect complement to the room block model. “We ran out of guest rooms in our contracted room block well before the official cut-off date.”

In the past, INFORMS meeting planners had to manage the room block scramble or, worse, tell attendees to find rooms on their own. In each case, the customer experience was abysmal. Thankfully, INFORMS came across Stay22.

“Finding your company was an excellent solution to this problem. It was easy to set-up and get onto our conference website within a few days - and the commission to the association is a great bonus!”

Stay22 is a map-based accommodation solution for event travelers. Using Stay22, INFORMS meeting planners realized that meeting attendees could find rooms on their own with quite a positive customer experience. By centering the accommodation map around the event venue, INFORMS meeting attendees could take note of the distance in minutes between accommodation and venue. Attendees could also choose the sort of lodging and price range they desired - from hotels to Airbnbs and other alternative accommodation. Through the interactive map, meeting attendees were brought directly to the booking page. By implementing Stay22, INFORMS solved both the problems of guest rooms and customer experience.

“I like the fact that you’re a small company. We get the attention we need, you guys are fast.”

INFORMS felt relieved by the ease and speed with which they could offer a booking resource to their attendees.

Results:

For INFORMS, success looks like a great customer experience. Or, in the words of INFORMS meeting planners, “Success is when attendees have very few complaints.”

According to INFORMS, “no one mentioned anything about Stay22 - and that it is a good thing I truly mean that, no complaints, I’m thrilled!” The seamless customer experience speaks for itself. Stay22 had a significant impact on customer satisfaction, as it drastically reduced complaints among meeting attendees. For this, INFORMS meeting planners were grateful and will continue to use Stay22 and recommend it to colleagues in the field in the future.

“Quick and Easy” were the main takeaways INFORMS meeting planners experienced implementing Stay22, descriptors which are highly important and desirable for any service.

As a resource, Stay22 is beneficial both to INFORMS and to their attendees. The planner workload is reduced due to the lack of both the necessity for further room blocks, and of calls with complaints and frantic questions of “where am I going to stay?” As humans, we want comfort and security. Stay22 provides that by signalling another way to find accommodation. “When they go to the website, they’re going to see that the room block has been filled - but look, here’s what you can do (pointing to the Stay22 map).” In terms of customer satisfaction, Stay22 offers a “much better option than posting travel websites on our conference page.”

By the numbers:

This year at the INFORMS Annual Meeting, 90% of the 6000 attendees were from out of town. When the 1800 room blocks sold out, INFORMS turned to Stay22. Thanks to Stay22, 229 bookings were generated, along with $1631.22 USD in commission for INFORMS. Data through Stay22 enabled INFORMS to track what type of accommodation their clients prefer, be it hotels or Airbnbs, where they came from, and how long they stayed.

By using Stay22, INFORMS could provide a superior customer experience for their clients, and can continue to do so at future meetings with the data they collect. This data might influence what types of hotels they block off next year.

‍For INFORMS meeting planners, working with Stay22 was a breeze. They received the information immediately and were able to better serve their patrons by implementing the Stay22 map. Stay22 acts as “a great service for the multiple last minute reservations,” which complements the widespread use of the room block model among meeting planners.

While INFORMS will continue to use the room block model, Stay22 acts as a quick and convenient way for attendees to book their stay once the room blocks are filled. Stay22 is a safety net.