Cvent’s Bharet Malhotra at Skift: Event Technology Is Advancing a ‘Hidden’ Industry

There’s no question that the meetings and events industry has been growing for many years — but now it’s worth nearly $600 billion?

That’s right, explained Bharet Malhotra, senior vice president of the Cvent Hospitality Cloud, at the recent Skift Global Forum. “It’s like the biggest industry that’s completely hidden,” he said. And it’s an industry full of even more potential.

That was the message from Malhotra during an interview with Skift founder and CEO Rafat Ali. He discussed the opportunities and technologies available for meeting planners and hoteliers, the roadblocks to growth, and the path forward. Watch the video below.

The potential, Malhotra said, stems from the fact that trade shows and events are the second-highest ROI-generating activity, after a company’s website. With new tools that improve the ability to prove that ROI, planners are increasing their volume of events.

How Group Business Can Benefit by Incorporating More Technology

The key to maintaining that growth, however, is that both sides of the ecosystem — the event planners and the venues, hotels, and destinations — must fully embrace the opportunities presented by the latest group business technology. For instance, planners are excited about the prospect of booking small meetings online directly, an approach that presents opportunities for hoteliers to streamline operations, so they can focus more on attracting larger, more profitable events.

The transition to that model in the leisure segment, with online travel agencies and commissions, “became a learning lesson for a lot of the supply side — a lot of the hotels and venues out there — (so) they’re very timid” about releasing their meeting space inventory on a cloud-based platform, Malhotra said.

The time savings and overall growth of the industry, though, will make for better economics all around, he said. It’s just one example of technology that exists but hasn’t been widely embraced.

Ultimately, Malhotra said, “you have to get both sides of the equation working together” to continue to advance this profitable industry.

Experts and Your Hospitality Peers Share More Insights and Successes

Read more insights from hotel professionals and industry leaders in “How Technology Is Disrupting the Multibillion Dollar Meetings Industry,” a report presented by Skift and Cvent.

Written by Hannah Prince

Hannah joined Cvent as the Senior Editor for Hospitality Cloud content after more than a decade in the journalism world. As a passionate editor, she's always willing to discuss the merits of the Oxford comma, the use of who vs. whom, or the definition of a dangling modifier. In her free time, she enjoys traveling, taking her dog to happy hour, and buying even more shoes.