New system aims to double meeting room occupancy

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A new business which has been set up by experienced international hoteliers aims to double the occupancy rates of hotel meeting rooms through the launch of an online, real-time central reservation system.

Okanda aims to improve the booking process for hoteliers and meeting-room customers, increasing the occupancy of meetings rooms from 30% to 60%, and in turn helping to boost hoteliers’ profitability.

The business, which has raised over £1m in seed funding, is to launch later this year in the UK and Germany before seeking to expand further into international territories.

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Commenting on the launch, Dirk Führer, CEO of Okanda, who was previously chief commercial officer of the Steigenberger Hotel Group, said: “We are very excited about the unveiling of our revolutionary system and we know from first-hand experience that hoteliers will be liberated from a very time-consuming and frustrating process. Okanda removes a lot of the antiquated barriers encountered when booking a small meeting room, such as long-winded request for proposals, and equally helps hoteliers increase occupancy and build incremental revenue in a traditionally difficult to manage area.

“Furthermore, Okanda frees up resources and broadens hoteliers’ meeting inventory to not only better serve their existing customers, but also to attract new ones.”

Industry statistics suggest meeting rooms are only in use 30% of the time in the UK hotel market, where there are over 10,000 such rooms (seating up to 50 people), worth approximately £40bn pa.

By using the Okanda online portal, hoteliers can manage their simple meeting rooms in real-time, and increase occupancy levels with little management required.

Führer, who has also held commercial positions at Hilton Worldwide, Rezidor Hotel Group and Starwood Hotels & Resorts, continued: “Okanda is the platform for the modern hotelier to both manage and promote meeting room availability. We want to work with the whole spectrum of hoteliers to increase their occupancy to exceed 60%, and are also keen to simplify the booking experience in order to make it more efficient and user friendly.”

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