Case Study - VIRTATALO


86 %

Booking confirmation rate


Of bookings received after office hours

We had an exciting discussion about how to utilize modern tools for Meetings & Events sales with Yvonne Sahlström, the Assistant Head of Convention Sales from Virtatalo in Vantaa, Finland. 

Read more below.


How did you first learn about MeetingPackage, and what challenges were you facing then? Can you share how MeetingPackage helped you overcome them?

Well, I came along with MeetingPackage when I worked in a restaurant that used MeetingPackage for their M&E sales. So it was easy to take in use in Virtatalo. From the very beginning, it felt like it was a straightforward way to keep up to date on what's happening in M&E sales in general. Now three people are using it, and it's pretty intuitive. Everyone knows what's happening tomorrow, next week, and who the customer is coming in just by looking at the calendar. 

Initially, the calendar was a bit buggy for us, but now that those have been fixed it's been smooth sailing, sort of speak. 

What were the challenges you faced before using MeetingPackage that motivated you to switch to our solution?

Originally, we didn't have any solution in place, and we used Google calendar, notebooks, excel, etc., general tools to manage our sales. Once we started to use MeetingPackage in a way it helped to sort of systemize the whole sales process of our restaurant services and consolidated it into a single platform, that is more user-friendly and easy to use.

Now we have so many meeting rooms, so it would be a mess if we didn't have a well-functioning calendar where to put the reservations and where to put the information about the customers and so on.


What is the most useful MeetingPackage feature in your opinion? 

I must say calendar. Most of the bookings originated through the calendar or the offline bookings that you have generated in the calendar on behalf of the customer. I like the thing that it remembers a customer that has already done a booking in the past. So the information is already there when I start to write the customer name and I don't need to write it again. But we have also older customers who have purchased services and are not in the system so those we naturally need to type into the system.

One thing we would need is actually a multi-day booking feature. E.g. if I have one customer who wants to book every second week on Thursday at 2:00 PM, I have to make every booking separately. I can't make one booking for many days. I always have to do it again and again and it's a bit frustrating.

It's a good point. Multi-day booking is a popular feature and we are working on it. Meanwhile, you can duplicate the existing booking for the next week and so one to at least alleviate the pain of "double keying" data.

All right, that's exactly what we were looking for. all right. Okay. Yeah, that's that. It makes it a little bit easier. Yeah.

"Many RFPs come by phone still, which I guess is common. We have also a lot of customers that just book the meeting room and the lead time is quite short and that's why we have the instant booking functionality on for one meeting room."

Yvonne Sahlström Assistant Head of Convention Sales

Anything other you've noticed while using MeetingPackage that you want to point out on your daily M&E sales? 

A lot of RFPs come by phone still, which I guess is common. We have also a lot of customers that just book the meeting room and the lead time is quite short and that's why we have the instant booking functionality on for one meeting room. The booking window can even be as short as two hours at times. 

The companies that are renting office spaces in this same building are booking meeting rooms, and because of Covid they stopped ordering services like food and beverage, etc., but that's slowly coming back. Little by little it's increased but slowly.

Your statistics show that 1/3 of the bookings are coming outside of business hours. Do you feel that's correct? 

It might be right because quite often, when you come in the morning to work, you have the bookings in your email. They come after 5 or 6 pm when our staff have ended their workday. Sometimes we have events in the evening then we have staff…but normally we don't have staff in the evening. If anybody is inputting anything to the function calendar after office hours it's me! I'm often here still at 9 pm, checking email or… managing some bookings. Something that I haven't done during the day, so yeah might come from there also.

Are you using instant bookings in your sales strategy?

Instant bookings, we have one company in the house that uses instant booking. I would say 95% of the instant bookings are done by one customer. Were fine with it, even though it's not so big part of our business model. Because we can't really operate with short lead times from the catering perspective and the short lead time is the essence of instant bookings. If we make the lead time e.g. one week long what's the difference between instant booking and booking online at that point?

Yes, I see. Of course, you can collect the payment before the meeting with instant bookings and skip the invoicing part after the meeting. 

True. Maybe it's something to think about in the future. 

Well, it was a pleasure to speak with you, Yvonne. Thank you for giving time from your busy schedule. 

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