Case study - Dolce by Wyndham La Hulpe Brussels

Dolce by Wyndham La Hulpe Brussels

~ 80 %

Confirmation rate

4 hours

Average RFP confirmation 

We were pleased to talk with Pieter Allaerts, Director of Sales & Marketing at Dolce La Hulpe Brussels about using online tools for Meetings and events sales. We hope you enjoy the highlights of our discussion in this case study.


Can you tell us a little bit about Dolce La Hulpe Brussels?

Nestling in the heart of the Sonian Forest, less than 15 km from the centre of
Brussels, the hotel Dolce by Wyndham La Hulpe Brussels offers a unique
experience where well-being, gastronomy and nature merge in one place.

The perfect combination to host innovative meeting experiences that foster big ideas, where thinkers and doers can learn, discover, and create lasting memories.

We offer not less than 264 guestrooms and suites, 40 conference rooms with an auditorium of 500 seats and a 750m² ballroom, a 1000m² restaurant, and many
outdoor dining options. Combined with thoughtful on-site activities, we invite our
customers to Meet & Relax, Meet & Bond, or Meet & Boost, depending on their meeting objectives.

In 2015, Wyndham Hotels & Resorts acquired Dolce Hotels & Resorts under their brand umbrella. Dolce properties remained focused on their core business of meetings and events, or “the mice industry,” as it is also known.

What are the challenges you are tackling with MeetingPackage?

Recognizing our rapidly evolving world, we strategically decided to provide a tool for our guests to book their meetings online. While guests could book their bedrooms online for many years, there was no efficient tool for booking meetings. We wanted to be at the forefront of this trend, so we partnered with MeetingPackage to offer this innovative solution.

Did this change resolve the challenges?

Yes. Our conference center has 40 meeting rooms and a commercial sales team to handle them, as our core business is in residential meetings. However, I think MeetingPackage is a great sales tool for day meetings of less than 30 delegates.

One major advantage of MeetingPackage is the real-time availability feature.

One significant advantage of MeetingPackage is the real-time availability feature. We don't need to worry if a room can be sold for tomorrow or the next day. The system automatically updates and shows which rooms are available. It's a game-changer for us.

We did face some challenges, namely with packages. As Dolce focuses on CMP (Complete Meeting Package) and DMP (Day Meeting Package), we had to create new packages, such as a coffee package, which includes just the meeting room and a coffee break. However, I believe our system is working well now that we have overcome these initial hurdles.

Implementing the online booking system has been a major advantage for our team. It has reduced manual work from entering information and handling contracts to getting signatures and managing deposit sheets.

Pieter Allaerts Director of Sales & Marketing at Dolce by Wyndham La Hulpe Brussels

What was your experience implementing and introducing the solution to your team and the end customers?

While our customers find the online booking system helpful, it’s also a learning experience for them. Many of our clients are not accustomed to booking their conferences online, so we need to invest efforts in educating them. We have created a tutorial for our customers thanks to Marius, currently interning in our marketing department. I am eager to explore how to feature the tutorial on our website prominently. Ultimately, we aim to instill confidence in our clients that they can successfully book their meetings online.

The confirmation rate for instant bookings is close to 80 %. What about the response time on booking requests that are not instant?

The booking request response time is 21 hours. The European average is 32 hours.

Although it is commendable, I believe it could be shortened to less than 12 hours, but often, we contact the contracted client directly and update the system after 21 hours. Maybe this process could be amended in the future. Nevertheless, it's okay as it is now.

What kind of business rules do you use for instant bookings?

Our instant booking feature allows reservations up to two months in advance without any maximum restrictions. This means the capacity is blocked for instant bookings if the event date is over two months from today. Understandably, some potential guests may send inquiries because they cannot book online within the desired timeframe, but these cases are in the minority. This availability window is set like it is because our core business primarily focuses on residential meetings. These meetings often require multiple breakout rooms, and we typically have 300 guest rooms available each week. However, there are instances when I miss out on potential leads because two meeting rooms have already been booked through instant booking. We aim to maximize occupancy by selling these remaining rooms at the last minute.

Can you talk about your online pricing strategy for M&E services?

Our prices are not inflated or higher than customers would pay if they called us directly. We even offer promotional codes that provide customers with discounts. We aim to encourage customers to book through our platform.

Instead of storing static prices in Delphi, we have implemented a flexible pricing mechanism that allows you to adjust prices based on seasons, whether daily, weekly, or monthly. This means you can create a price chart for the entire year, allowing customers to compare prices with neighboring properties easily.

Currently, we haven't implemented seasonal pricing in our system. We only have the room rental price and the coffee break price, calculated based on the number of people attending. We then apply a discount code to the room rental. However, adding seasonal pricing might be worth considering, especially for weekends and other specific periods. This would provide more flexibility and options for our customers.

Any suggestions for future improvements?

Many clients are looking to book multi-day meetings, and this option is not readily available. Also, adding bedrooms at the booking stage could increase the booking or inquiry volumes even more. So, if we can work together to integrate our systems and offer the option to book bedrooms, it would significantly enhance our services and make us even more valuable to our customers.

"We have already begun working on the first phase of our upcoming feature that will be available next year. This new feature will allow customers to express their intentions in a slightly different format, making it easier for them to request proposals. Currently, they can already follow the same journey when booking a multi-day package and immediately submit a request for proposal (RFP). This enhancement will make our platform even more powerful and efficient."

That's great to hear!

What are your overall impressions and thoughts on this product? And any thoughts about the future?

As I mentioned earlier, the world is increasingly focused on digitalization. While you have been able to book guest rooms online for decades, there hasn't been a platform to book meeting rooms online. This tool is the way forward, as it supports your customers and helps your in-house team.

I believe the most significant benefit for both our customers and employees is the ability to save time and book with confidence.

However, I also acknowledge room for improvement in our system optimization. Currently, we stand at 70 % efficiency, but we can strive to reach 95 % by incorporating the latest tools to enhance our services.

In terms of overall feedback, we are incredibly pleased with our progress. Next, we should make 95% use of the system capacity. Although we experienced a slow start, this was to be expected as clients needed time to adapt to the new platform. However, we are now seeing a steady increase in reservations, and we are optimistic that this trend will continue, which is a significant improvement. As we continue to enhance the system with features such as multi-day bookings and group bedroom bookings, we are confident that digitalization is the way forward. So let's embrace this opportunity and do it!

Also, as we delve into larger volumes, the importance of data becomes evident as this information can provide valuable insights. Ultimately, data is at the core of our optimization efforts, allowing us to fine-tune our commercial department for maximum efficiency.

"Great chatting with you! Thank you very much for your time; we appreciate it!"