Convene & Bizly Each Diversify into Short-Term Workspaces
Convene’s 10th New York property opened on Feb. 20 with a first for the meetings venue provider. Short-term-lease workspaces are now on offer, and Convene itself has moved into some of those office suites in its newest location, at 101 Greenwich St. in Manhattan’s Financial District. The flexible workspaces’ capacities range
from 10 to 100. Similar spaces will open at Convene’s Philadelphia and Los Angeles locations in the coming
months. A spokesperson told BTN the company has been fielding requests for such spaces, especially in
concert with multiday meetings.
“Much like Convene, we’ve seen a spike in demand and requests for workspace solutions for when people
are offsite,” said Ron Shah, CEO of Bizly, which offers a sourcing platform for small meetings venues. Travel
managers, procurement pros and meeting managers may not be responsible for workspace arrangements, he
said, but “they end up having to figure out how to help the employees.” Thus Bizly, too, plans to add a workspace category to its marketplace in the near future.
Bizly, a sourcing platform for small meetings venues, soon will announce the close of a fundraising round, according to CEO Ron Shah,
and among the investors that bought in is Convene. The meetings venue operator’s spaces also will become the first Bizly listings that are not
hotels or restaurants.
Bizly is on track to offer 12,000 meeting venues by the second
quarter, which is when the companies aim to have Convene listings
up. Convene operates 10 locations in New York, including one at
101 Greenwich St. that opened Feb. 20; three in Philadelphia and
one each in Boston and Washington, D.C. A space in Downtown Los
Angeles will open this month and another will open there in April. A
Convene spokesperson said the company will open multiple locations
in Chicago in the fourth quarter of 2018 and first quarter of 2019,
and a spot in Chicago’s Willis Tower, which is under renovation, will
open in 2020. Meanwhile, Convene
is looking at London and other key
U.S. markets like Houston and San
Francisco for 2019.
What They’ll Do Together
Convene’s listings won’t be priori-tized in Bizly’s display, Shah said, but
the listings may be “differentiated”
to “demonstrate how awesome the
Convene spaces are.” He explained,
“We may experiment together to
come up with interesting ideas for
how to show the spaces differently
on [Convene’s] pages.” The companies also plan to collaborate on
distribution strategies. Convene can
pilot the ideas at will on Bizly’s platform, and Bizly can apply the concepts and lessons learned to the rest
of its marketplace.
Alternative to Hotels
The fact that Convene’s meeting spots
are not hotel offerings will benefit
meeting planners, Shah said. “
Having a platform where they can easily
shop and compare across brands is
becoming increasingly important,”
he said, now that Marriott International has decreased the commission
rate it pays for meeting space bookings in the U.S. and Canada. Many
meetings management programs use
those commissions to offset their
costs, and multiple clients have told
him, “Hey, I want to de-prioritize or
even remove Marriott from my preferred list.”
Impact by Industry
U.S meetings produced $196.3 billion in economic output for the
business services sector, which includes professional and technical services administration and support and waste management,
according to a report the Events Industry Council commissioned
from Oxford Economics. U.S. meetings also produced $141.1 billion
for the finance, insurance and real estate category and $96.2 billion for manufacturing. The hotels and lodging category benefited
to the tune of $50 billion, based on 300 million room nights. Meeting organizers and hosts also spent $48 billion dollars on food and
beverage. Meanwhile, meetings-related travel expenses represented 13. 2 percent of total travel and tourism spending in the U.S.
U.S. meetings with more than 10 participants
and lasting at least four hours generated
$845 billion in economic output in 2016, contributing $446 billion to U.S. GDP, according to
a report the Events Industry Council commissioned from Oxford Economics. The U.S. meetings industry also supported 5. 9 million jobs—
directly, indirectly and as those employees spent
their wages in the broader economy—that paid
$249 billion in labor income.
Meetings also generated $104 billion of federal, state and local taxes in 2016. On average,
each meeting participant supported $416 of tax
revenue, including $251 of federal tax revenue
and $165 of state and local tax revenue.
The report analyzes results from Oxford Economics’ survey of 933 meeting planners, 271
venue managers and 95 exhibitors; a survey of
8,914 U.S.-based participants in U.S. meetings
by marketing research firm Longwood International; a National Travel & Tourism Office survey
of overseas meeting participants; a Statistics
Canada survey of Canadian participants in U.S.
meetings; group demand data and hotel financials from STR; data on trade show activity from
the Center for Exhibition Industry Research; and
a Destinations International report covering 154
U.S. destination marketing organizations.
Direct spending in the U.S. meetings sector
outweighed the air, rail and boat sectors combined. U.S. meetings supported more direct
jobs than many large manufacturing sectors—
including machinery, food, auto and chemicals—and more than each the telecommunications and oil and gas extraction industries.
Direct meetings spend totaled $167 billion
Meetings & Events Added $446B
to U.S. Economy in 2016
BY DAWIT HABTEMARIAM
for planning and producing, $120 billion for travel and
$38 billion by exhibitors and for other direct outlays. The
$325 billion total averages $1,294 per meeting participant.
International meeting participants numbered 6 million and
generated about $38 billion of direct spending, 11. 5 percent
of the sector’s total spending.
Direct spending on U.S. meetings has grown 23 percent since 2009, owing primarily to a growing number of
meeting participants. In 2009, 1. 8 million meetings hosted
205 million participants, and in 2016, 1. 9 million meetings
hosted 251 million.
Bizly Gets Venue Listings &
an Investment from Convene
BY AMANDA METCALF