Meeting expectations: Bizly works with small businesses to find event venues at the right price

Bizly is a New York City-based startup that intends to make finding event venues and negotiating prices easy for small businesses. (engu.me/Bizly)

New York-based Bizly, a platform founded in 2014 that is intended to help small businesses book and manage event spaces at hotels, restaurants and other facilities, has opened up its website for a formal launch to all prospective corporate customers.

To date, Bizly has been operating in a beta phase with several unnamed Fortune 100 customers among its early adopters—including a pharmaceutical company, a manufacturer, a consumer products company and a software provider.

During this period, the company claims that it has “seem explosive adoption rates—breaking through to administrators and other employees that other platforms have failed to engage in the past."

One of its key differentiators in the meeting market, Bizly says, is that it “overcomes the … pain point of booking meetings—the RFP— and replaces it with a straightforward, consumer-style online booking experience that adheres to corporate spending requirements.

How does it work? First, Bizly offers access to curated, detailed content for over 2,000 meeting venues including restaurants, hotels and other traditional and unique meeting locations nationwide.

Second, it allows users to set up spending limits and compliance rules for their own accounts; and then negotiates rates on clients’ behalf. Through its concierge support, Bizly leverages the personal attention and negotiation power of a traditional meeting agency, without the excessive price tag and lag time around small meetings, the company claims.

Third, Bizly is free of charge to use, and companies also can upgrade to paid plans that offer full compliance, reporting, and end-to-end program management.

"Traditionally, any employee planning a small event has had to deal with so much pain and frustration," said Bizly CEO Ron Shah, in a company release. "Employees want to be empowered with a self-serve platform that offers all the content they need to pick a venue easily and book a complex event in just a few clicks. Our meeting concierge then helps pull it all together and finalize the booking. This unique combination of great technology and concierge support improves the entire experience, and ultimately, the events themselves."

On the other side of the equation, Bizly opens the door for hospitality venues to grow their corporate group and small meetings business by connecting them directly with anyone booking a small meeting—which, Bizly says, typically and increasingly happens outside of the meetings department and is handled by employees from executive assistants to sales and human resources professionals.

"The hospitality industry is at a critical point as it wrestles with the impact of Airbnb and the rise in home sharing for business travel," Shah added. "It's abundantly clear that the industry's next big growth opportunity is corporate groups and small meetings. Bizly delivers small meetings revenue by seamlessly connecting hotels and restaurants with the employees across an organization that drive small meeting demand—a flow of business that these venues can't easily generate on their own."

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