by Michael J. Shapiro | December 04, 2017
Online travel company Expedia began rolling out an automated booking engine for meetings and events today to select U.S. hotels. The Expedia MICE booking engine, which is produced and sold by Expedia Powered Technology, is ready-to-implement, back-end technology that hotels can integrate into their websites. 
Expedia is one of a burgeoning list of tech suppliers who are attempting to simplify the often time-consuming request-for-proposal process by further automating it for small- and medium-sized meetings. Expedia claims the technology could allow hotels to answer RFPs about 20 times faster.
Using the new tool, planners can search, price, configure and book meeting space online, as well as A/V and other equipment, catering and group lodging. Hotel companies can use the technology for as many properties as they choose. The booking engine includes integrated revenue-management tools, which can link to a hotel's property-management system and allow the staff to adjust meeting and group prices dynamically to help increase revenue. Such adjustments could vary according to factors such as seasonality, day of the week, room type and number of participants.
"Our MICE technology solution was designed specifically to address a pain point for our hotel partners, as well as automate a traditionally frustrating process for meeting planners," said Felix Undeutsch, head of MICE for the Expedia group. "With our technology-driven test-and-learn culture, MICE-booking efficiency and online automation is an industry issue we're excited to tackle."
The booking engine was first deployed with hotel clients in Germany, and initial results from a pilot with Best Western Central Europe have revealed dramatic time savings, with the average quote response time decreasing from five hours to just 14 minutes. The tool has since rolled out to additional hotel companies and independent properties in the EMEA and APAC regions.
The MICE booking engine is part of the Expedia Powered Technology toolkit, a suite of solutions available to hotel partners. More information can be found here.