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Meeting the Meeting Planners

Booking Agents and UK Convention Bureaux together

An atmosphere of enthusiasm greeted Heather Swatkins,’s Client Services Director and Tim Clark, Strategic Development Director at the 'GRATIS User Forum May 2016'. Booking Agents and UK Convention Bureaux who use GRATIS (Global Reservation Accommodation & Travel Information System), a web based application for events booking, met with to learn about the latest industry trends, product enhancements and to discuss future developments. The forum reinforces engagement and the ongoing commitment to improve the GRATIS system and further streamline the enquiry process.



The Venue

Hosted at Best Western Premier Yew Lodge Hotel & Conference Centre, Kegworth, Leicestershire, many attendees enjoyed a fantastic dining experience and great accommodation the night prior to the forum.



Additionally, with a number of Agents from some of the largest UK booking agencies and convention bureaux in one hotel, it provided an amazing opportunity for the team at the hotel to show off the venue’s corporate, accommodation and leisure facilities.




Whilst the Agents attended a showround of the venue, Tim hosted a Convention Bureaux specific session including testimonials from various fully listed venues who are members of
Beth from The Sheffield Town Hall commented: “It has made such a difference having many enquiries through one central system from Venue Finding Agencies and the Bureau alike. We previously received enquiries from a variety of sources and even though we have a great internal filing system receiving enquiries through the venue portal enables us to easily track everything which is just great for us. We are really happy with how it’s working for us”

Booking Agents and Convention Bureaux also had the chance to meet Michelle Dobbs, Client Services Executive. Michelle is front-line support for GRATIS, a popular celebrity who is and easily recognisable by her quirky sense of humour; a great asset to the GRATIS support team.


Michelle Dobbs

Michelle Dobbs, Client Services Executive

The forum concluded by establishing users’ priority of enhancements, providing direction for the GRATIS Product Development Team for the next six. Heather commented: “It’s a great feeling when you can provide a list of the desired results that had been actioned and completed since the last forum, presenting a new line of features, that just six months ago were only concepts."

Following a relaxed lunch, Heather and Michelle closed the afternoon session with a practical hands-on workshop, where users had the opportunity for one-to-one help and to ask questions specific to their business.

The next forum will include practical learning opportunities and workshop sessions in addition to technical product updates. The forum will take place in October 2016 at a centrally located venue to be advised and an attendee from each GRATIS licensee is entitled to a free place.

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