Group travel booking platform Groups360 has secured a significant investment of USD 35 million to fuel its growth. The funding round was led by Zigg Capital, with participation from Blackstone Innovations Investments and Fir Tree Partners. This infusion of capital will facilitate the widespread adoption of Groups360's innovative GroupSync technology by hoteliers and planners on a global scale.
Founded in 2014 by David Kloeppel and Kemp Gallineau, Groups360 is headquartered in the United States and has offices in Nashville, London and Singapore. With their extensive experience in the hospitality industry, the founders recognized the need for a more efficient approach to managing group events and meetings. Their platform offers instant booking of hotel rooms, price comparisons, and access to meeting spaces through the GroupSync platform. Additionally, Groups360 provides private-label booking engine services to hotels.
The primary focus of Groups360 is to cater to the needs of event planners organizing larger group events such as conferences, conventions, and corporate meetings. Their comprehensive venue sourcing solution aggregates data from various sources, including hotel chains, independent properties, and other event venues. This allows event planners to access a diverse inventory of event spaces, offering them a wide range of options to choose from.
Groups360 leverages data and analytics to provide market intelligence insights to meeting planners and suppliers. These insights empower them to make informed decisions regarding pricing, availability, and demand trends, ultimately enhancing their overall business strategies.
Operating a Supplier Marketplace, Groups360 offers a curated selection of event suppliers such as audiovisual companies, event production services, and transportation providers. This allows planners to connect with trusted suppliers for their events, streamlining the planning process.
To further streamline the booking process, Groups360 has developed an AI-powered virtual booking assistant called "Charlie." This chatbot assists event planners throughout the booking process by providing instant answers to frequently asked questions and guiding users through the platform's features.
As for their financials, Groups360's estimated annual booking revenue currently stands at USD 29.7 million, with 111 employees. The company experienced a 12% growth in employee count over the previous year, resulting in an estimated revenue of USD 268,000 per employee.
The core of Groups360's booking system lies in their online marketplace called GroupSync. With access to more than 200,000 properties in 225 countries and territories, event planners can search for venues based on specific requirements such as location, event dates, capacity, amenities, and budget. In April 2022, from these 200,000 properties only 7,000 qualified for instant bookings, all others were bookable on request only.
The GroupSync platform offers advanced filters and search options, allowing planners to easily compare venues side by side. Detailed information about each venue, including descriptions, photos, amenities, floor plans, and reviews, enables event planners to evaluate different options and choose the most suitable venue for their event.
Once event planners have identified their preferred venues, they can send requests for proposal (RFPs) directly through the GroupSync platform. The RFP includes event details such as room requirements, dates, food and beverage needs, audiovisual requirements, and other specific requests. The selected venues then review the requirements and respond with proposals. Event planners receive pricing details, availability, contract terms, and additional information requested in the RFP.
Upon selecting a hotel or venue, event planners can proceed with booking group accommodations and meeting spaces. Groups360's platform assists in managing room blocks, ensuring an adequate number of rooms are reserved for event attendees. Planners have the flexibility to set room release dates, manage rooming lists, and make adjustments as needed. The platform provides tools and analytics to optimize group bookings, ensuring a seamless experience.
What sets GroupSync apart is its direct integration into hotel reservation systems and property management systems. This integration enables real-time access to rates and availability for group room blocks and meeting spaces, as well as ancillary services like catering and audiovisual.
In 2018, Groups360 entered into a strategic collaboration with InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG), one of the world's leading hotel companies. This partnership further solidifies their commitment to innovation in event planning and technology.
Groups360 has demonstrated a commitment to accessibility in the event planning industry. In collaboration with the Society for Accessible Travel & Hospitality (SATH), they launched "Search for Access," a tool that helps event planners find and book accessible hotel rooms and venues for attendees with disabilities.
With the recent investment, Groups360 plans to expand its presence across the EMEA and APAC regions. The company has recently signed deals with prominent hotel chains, including Omni Hotels & Resorts, TFE Hotels, and Premier Inn.
Kemp Gallineau, CEO of Groups360, expressed enthusiasm about the future: "With support from our new partners, Groups360 is positioned to seize the opportunities ahead and further enhance the group travel experience."
A report by Amadeus highlights the increasing trend of group travel, with advance occupancy rates already surpassing the performance of 2021 and 2020. This upward trajectory has attracted investors seeking to fund promising group travel platforms worldwide, and Groups360 has emerged as a prominent player in the meetings and events industry, thanks to its innovative technology, strategic partnerships, and unwavering commitment to improving the group booking experience.
In summary, Groups360 is revolutionizing the group travel industry by simplifying the booking process through their GroupSync platform. With advanced features, comprehensive venue sourcing, market intelligence insights, and strategic partnerships, Groups360 is well-positioned to enhance the planning experience for event organizers and hoteliers alike.