a2z’s Hosted Buyer Solution Makes Marriott The Perfect Organizer
Just three weeks before the 2017 Marriott Customer Event at the 21st Annual Philadelphia Flower Show, project manager Elizabeth Gooden reached out to a2z with an opportunity and a challenge. As the primary event planner, Gooden was searching for a hosted buyer matchmaking and appointment-scheduling solution that could be up and running quickly. a2z responded with speed, agility and a whole lot more.
Searching and Not Settling
Four years ago, Marriott added a hosted buyer component to make the event more productive for its hotelier participants. In that time, Gooden had used at least two different hosted buyer software solutions with varying degrees of success. Just “getting by” with a combination of automation and time-consuming, manual manipulation was becoming increasingly less helpful to her one-woman operation. This year, she wanted more: full automation that would take her out of the loop.
There's No "I" in Team
After talking to three other companies and reaching out to a fourth (to no avail) on Twitter, a Google search turned up a2z’s hosted buyer solution. When Gooden reached out to them shortly before the event, she knew from the first phone call that things were going to work out. “They were eager to say, ‘we can make this happen, we’re here for whatever you need, we understand your time frame and you have our full attention,’” she recalls.
Unlike platforms in which hoteliers and customers make selections in one database, but the actual matches and appointments are listed elsewhere or involve a manual process, a2z’s solution puts participant profiles, selection and appointment generation in one location. Matches and appointments are generated automatically with the push of a button. Organizers can update, view and print appointments. Participants can view appointments online or via their mobile devices.
By pressing a2z’s hosted buyer solution into service, Gooden achieved some amazing outcomes:
- Delivery of a customized hosted buyer solution in just a few days
- Decrease in the number of no shows for scheduled appointments
- Increase in the value of the hosted buyer program to the event
- Savings of tens of hours of planner time
- End-to-end automation of hosted buyer appointment-scheduling process
Getting Even More
The only downside of deploying a2z’s hosted buyer solution so quickly was not having the time to learn everything the platform can do, Gooden explains. Nevertheless, besides being able to compare next year’s usage data to the current year, she says she plans to implement the solution earlier in the event cycle so that she can utilize more of its features. “I would love to be able to go back to our customers and say, ‘here’s who you met with and to just be able to do a follow-up through the system, which is a capability we’ve never had before,” she explains. She’s also eager to use a2z to figure out how to provide her customers with the best matches and the most appointments. “We’re constantly looking for that sweet spot,” she says.