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December 1, 2014

Tech Buzz: Okanda Aims to Streamline Meeting Room Booking Process

A new UK-based start-up launched by international hoteliers aims to double the occupancy rates of hotel meeting rooms through an online, real-time, central reservation system.

When launched, Okanda aims to smooth the meeting-room booking process for hoteliers and planners alike, and will increase the occupancy of meeting rooms from 30 percent to 60 percent.

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

Okanda CEO Dirk Führer, who was previously Chief Commercial Officer of the Steigenberger Hotel Group, said in a statement that the new platform would remove many of the “antiquated barriers encountered when booking a small meeting room, such as long-winded request for proposals.”

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

Okanda aims to let hoteliers manage their  meeting rooms in real-time, and increase occupancy levels with little management required.

“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,” Führer, who has also held commercial positions at Hilton Worldwide, Rezidor Hotel Group and Starwood Hotels & Resorts, continued.

Okanda is backed by two leading German banks, KfW and NRW.BANK. Hoteliers interested can pre-register for the service through the pre-launch page www.okanda.com.

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