Look, Ma! No Telephone!

By Heather Baldwin

Tired of spending days on the phone trying to negotiate a meeting site? Hop online and check out Hyatt’s new meeting planning tool, e-mmediatemeetings.com, where you can access Hyatt’s group availability and guestroom rates as well as reserve your meeting space in real time. The service was launched globally in May after several months of beta testing with Hyatt customers.

The site is designed for meetings requiring fewer than 100 rooms. Planners can book space for meetings up to six months out at any Hyatt in the U.S., Canada or the Caribbean. Not sure which location you’d like to go to? You can research different properties, pick the facility you want, obtain guestroom prices, estimate food and beverage costs, then reserve the meeting space on your preferred dates. Your reservation puts a temporary hold on that space so you don’t need to worry about losing it while playing phone tag with a hotel sales agent. Once you’ve completed the online registration process, a sales rep will call you within 24 hours to firm up details and work on getting a contract put together. Or if you have questions while navigating through e-mmediatemeetings.com, just call the group sales phone number listed on the site.

Think you’ll lose your power to negotiate for better rates or freebies? Not at all, says one executive. Sure, you’ll be quoted prices for meeting-related needs online. But there may be special considerations, such as repetition of business, which e-mmediatemeetings.com cannot identify and a sales rep would consider during negotiations for a final price. After all, the deal isn’t final until the contract is signed, but until it is you’ll have peace of mind knowing the dates and location you want are reserved.

If you need an incentive to check out this new service, through the end of the year Hyatt is offering 10% off guestroom rates during “Extra Value Dates,” which can be determined for each property at www.e-mmediatemeetings.com.