by Michael J. Shapiro | March 09, 2020

Groupize, a booking and meetings management platform initially conceived to handle relatively small, simple meetings, has released a new version to use across all meeting types. According to the event-technology provider, Groupize 3.0 has been optimized to manage 100 percent of a company's meetings, regardless of size. A slew of new features were added to improve the platform's utility and flexibility.

"We've done a lot of growing up over the last five years," said Groupize founder and CEO Charles de Gaspe Beaubien. "Groupize 1.0 was for small meetings, Groupize 2.0 was for simple meetings, and now Groupize 3.0 is for all tiers of meetings with a focus on simplicity, usability and visibility. Moving forward, most organizations will not need to pay for two meeting tools to manage all their meeting spend."

The new release is a marketing pivot for the platform, which for years has been used by many clients alongside other products to handle meetings of different sizes and complexity. Earlier this year, de Gaspe Beaubien said that more than one-fifth of his clients were using Groupize to capture simple meetings data, while using another platform for their strategic meetings management programs.

That said, he added that the percentage of clients who started using Groupize as an alternative to more expensive, complex solutions has been growing in recent years. In 2019, Groupize was used for meetings of four to 2,600 attendees. The average meeting hosted 88 attendees over four days, with 3.4 leads per sourced hotel, a booking window of 74 days and a cost of $976 per attendee (for a total of $86,000 in travel expenses).

Regardless of meeting size, the latest version of the platform continues to focus on simplicity for the end user: It offers a guided experience, based on predetermined company policies, with a common entry point for all meetings, regardless of size. The subsequent workflow will be dependent on key defined parameters (budget, number of registrants, etc.), with simple meetings being processed more quickly and efficiently than larger, more complex gatherings.

The platform offers a single sign-on portal for organizations to integrate the technology with their intranet, travel management portals and/or SAP Concur Dashboard. Concur integration has been a key entry point for the Groupize platform and its relationship to travel and expense management. Many Groupize clients are motivated by duty-of-care issues and the need to keep tabs on travelers attending all meetings, de Gaspe Beaubien pointed out.

"Once again, external events are highlighting the necessity for meeting oversight and duty of care for meetings," added de Gaspe Beaubien. "To date, meeting technology has been overpriced, cumbersome and not accessible to everyone in an organization -- hence why many corporations are still in the dark and don't know how much they are spending around the meetings category."

The latest version of Groupize is built on five core components:

  • Groupize Visibility: A reimagined workflow eases the process of registering all meetings companywide, particularly geared toward companies currently lacking accurate insight into meetings spend.
  • Groupize Expense: This component was designed for procurement and finance requirements, with enhancements made to control budgets, report savings, approve workflows and enforce policy compliance.
  • Groupize Planning: A self-service booking and planning module with an enhanced policy engine and a new meeting request form, it was designed to accommodate both occasional and professional planners. The venue database includes 150,000 hotels around the world, and will add 20,000 more event venues of various sizes in the second quarter.
  • Groupize Logistic: This module covers attendee management, templated RSVP capabilities, registration websites, a store, and the management of room blocks and air travel. Companies using Concur Travel can integrate Groupize to expand the capabilities to cover group travel and events.
  • Groupize Meetings Intelligence: The reporting module covers spend, budgets, rooming lists and flight manifests. Groupize Snapshot and Groupize Tableau Meetings Intelligence provide insight and companywide reporting across all event programs.

The latest version of the technology aims to connect all stakeholders, including meeting planners and administrative assistants, travel managers, procurement and finance professionals, and third parties.