Cvent CEO Reggie Aggarwal during the company’s Connect 2022 event in Las Vegas this week announced the company’s new marketplace strategy, which he said would “enable a more unified ecosystem” for Cvent users and expand Cvent’s reach beyond its own tech platform and beyond its traditional supplier network of venues and hotels.
Cvent Adds Expanded Vendor Set
Cvent’s new Vendor Marketplace, launched this week, loops new vendor types into the traditional Cvent Supplier Network and connects them to the overall request-for-information or request-for-proposals sourcing process. It extends to 18 vendor categories with 300 new vendors, including accessibility specialists, audiovisual suppliers and event rental companies as well as meetings management agencies, incentive specialists and event health and safety support and others, creating something closer to a one-stop shop for meeting sourcing.
“We worked together with planners, including those from ConferenceDirect and HelmsBriscoe, to create the Vendor Marketplace,” said Cvent VP of product management Jim Abramson. “[Cvent is] one platform, but we want to be able to plug in partners to be part of that ecosystem in an integrated way, so that planners can see everything in one place.”
Users can populate the Cvent sourcing platform with meeting details, then can use that data to request information and proposals from numerous vendor types without repeating data entry in multiple adjunct systems or third-party forms.
Clients can tag their preferred vendors in the marketplace to prioritize preferred vendors, but they cannot ‘exclude’ vendors from the marketplace.
HelmsBriscoe senior director of global accounts Valerie Hodgson said in a statement that the system is working for her company. “Being able to quickly send a request for meeting support services within our preferred venue sourcing platform … enables our team to work more efficiently and tap into a trusted network of suppliers who we know will get the job done.”
App Marketplace Aims for Faster Collaboration
The App Marketplace exposes meeting buyers to Cvent partner technologies that are building products and services on top of the company’s platform. The add-ons range from data analytics tools and reporting specialists to big data-powered value-added tax reclaim service providers to big-name travel apps like Uber for Business. Thirty-nine app makers currently participate in the Cvent App Marketplace.
“We’ve always had a handful of tech partners, but we didn’t market it,” said Cvent SVP of sales Brian Ludwig. “Creating this world-facing interface to [enable buyers to] find these tools makes a big difference. We’re really excited about the developers that will build on top of Cvent.”
One App Marketplace participant told BTN on condition of anonymity that they saw their role as filling gaps in the Cvent tool that seemed like clear pain points for users that Cvent might not have the inclination or resources to address.
“They are a really big company,” they said. “So smaller client pain points may not seem as urgent, but we can step in and fill those gaps and provide intuitive functionalities.” Other app participants provide wholly different functions and services that tap into the information provided in the centralized meetings data platform.
Cvent’s marketplace moves echo those of other business travel and meetings providers. Online booking and expense platform SAP Concur in 2013 launched the Concur App Center with integrated technology partners that could offer additional functionality to its corporate online booking tool or tightly integrate to automate expense data for reporting. BCD Travel in 2018 launched SolutionSource, a marketplace of third-party technology companies to innovate on top of the BCD platform, opening APIs and development opportunities to a number of technology startups in the business travel space. American Express Meetings & Events promoted a similar concept prior to the pandemic and accelerated it with the rapidly expanding tech needs for meetings through the Covid-19 pandemic.
One advantage of the marketplace concept in all these cases is the “pre-approved” nature of the technology partners. By vetting them as part of the Cvent ecosystem, the meetings technology giant may help clear the way for clients to adopt new technologies without the level of information security scrutiny that would come from sourcing these third parties independently.
That said, travel technology consultant Guy Snelgar last fall told BTN that many companies are taking a second look at this type of ride-along technology concept—often late in the game because buyers didn’t disclose the specifics early enough in the process.
“It used to be seen as an easy option: The [existing partner] said everything was OK; I can tick the box in the RFP and I don’t have to worry about [infosec],” said Snelgar. “Now, corporate infosec are going back and saying, ‘Well, you ticked the RFP, but I want to know about this and what about that bit of the system?’ Some companies get right up to the kickoff … and they have to go back. So we are sort of past that simple option now.”
Source by www.businesstravelnews.com