Mike Mason, a 25-year veteran of the hospitality industry, has launched Zentila, a revolutionary online platform for hotels and meeting planners to conduct business more efficiently.
Zentila, a sales solution for hotels, is the first-ever online booking engine specifically focused on short-term meetings or STMs, which are meetings booked within 90 days of the arrival date. Beyond providing a user-friendly application to search and source pre-qualified venues, Zentila offers access exclusively to the top upscale and luxury meeting hotels in the country, which already capture 85 percent of the STMs. The company also promises planners a three-hour bid turnaround time versus the traditional three to four days it currently takes planners to search and source.
“Not only does Zentila make it easier for meeting planners to get their jobs done, it drives incremental business to hotels within a time period that has traditionally been difficult to sell against,” said Mike Mason, founder and ZEO of Zentila. “The demand was there, but the hotel’s ability to sell against it was not. And, Zentila offers hotels an advantage they’ve never had before, which is the ability to see who they’re competing against before they make their offer to the planner. That’s an invaluable tool for them to be able to make better sales decisions.”
The Secret is in the Offer
A key component of the Zentila business model is called the Secret Offer. Here’s how it works: planners create their meeting request and select the specific hotels they want to work with. When hotels respond, the planner will not see the hotel names, but only the meeting package. They will know, though, that the bids they receive back are only from those hotels they have personally pre-selected. The Secret Offer appeals to meeting planners shopping multiple hotels for the best package versus a specific brand while at the same time, creating new opportunities for hotels. In addition, the short-term booking window means hotels can have the confidence to offer their best deal upfront, knowing that planners are ready to book and not just rate-shopping. And because the hotel bids that aren’t chosen remain confidential, there is no worry about losing a competitive edge.
Other compelling features of Zentila include:
• “Search, Source and Book,” a dynamic RFP builder with full drag-and-drop functionality, the first of its kind, that enables planners to go from needing a venue to having one in three hours or less.
• A “search engine with a brain” that delivers 100 percent relevant results because there’s no advertising. The site also features interactive filtering that was crafted from planner feedback, such as landmark distance that is measured in time instead of miles, last-renovated date, and sleeping room size. Not only does this significantly shorten sourcing time but planners report that it’s easy-to-use and fun.
• The ability to “Zoot,” a Twitter-like function that assists planners in their hotel and destination research by connecting them directly to other planners.
• Access to “Zenalytics,” which is information provided to hotels to help them make better decisions. For example, Zentila will provide competitive set data on every lead, will let the hotels know where a meeting was booked, and will ensure that the booking cycle is complete. They’ll also see macro trends relating to their performance on Zentila.
Available free to meeting planners, Zentila’s hotel customers will participate via different membership levels as well as a fixed fee for each room booked and actualized.
“We’re the first technology to focus specifically on this growing channel,” said Mason. “We’re revolutionizing how things are done with a game-changing platform that consolidates searching, sourcing, and purchasing down to as little as three hours, which is unprecedented. Planners can now go from needing a site to having one in less than a day. It’s planning Zen.”
The Journey to Zentila
Based in Winter Garden, Fla., Zentila (zentila.com) is the brainchild of hospitality industry veteran Mike Mason, who identified a window of sales opportunity for hotels that was potentially lucrative, but difficult to sell against. In an effort to capitalize on the growing trend to book Short Term Meetings (STMs), namely 90 days or less from when the meeting would actually take place, he set out on a journey to create an easier path between hotels and planners. The result is the first-ever online booking engine for meetings that also acts as a sales solution for hotels. For more information, call (407) 656-5683.