As I reflect on the amazing evolution of Wizme, the arrival of a visionary new and disruptive eco system technology in the meetings and groups space, never has it been so relevant and timely to be launched.
I set out to create an enabling technology in the business meetings & groups segments that created stand out value to venues, corporates (both procurement managers needing spend oversight and control & meeting arrangers, who wanted confidence that the brief was being met), and the intermediaries that book on behalf of those corporate clients.
Speed of execution, greatly reduced costs, accuracy of search returns and revenue generation were the key tenants of the “eco system” and design principles I pictured at the start of this journey.
Several years on and the “big idea” is now gaining traction and coming to life. It has been a challenging journey as any start up sole, founder would appreciate. Balancing time and energy on fund raising, solution design, market listening, sales, implementations and governance has been tough but highly satisfying.
There have been some great lessons learnt as I reflect on the various evolution stages of Wizme. The big idea is about creating solution technology that addressed the key challenges to the key target audiences.
Venues – better enquiry management and modern-day revenue management to reduce costs and optimise revenue-guaranteeing enhanced performance.
Corporates – giving them online enablement for meetings and groups enquiries with pure transparency that the venues returned were the correct match for the brief and driving the best value.
Intermediary TMCs – delivering a technology suite that automates key cost areas of the venue search, book and contracting process and so reducing the cost of handling and making their services relevant to the customers they serve.
Every journey has learning, and my reflective key take out was that although value and significance to each of these stakeholder groups was pretty much equal, the motivations and thus the speed of adopting such change was and is very different with many nuances at play.
We are building something BIG here, so we had to ensure the foundation stones were firmly rooted and well considered in all that we designed and what it meant to each part of the eco system. What we know is that the B2B market is a complex market to enter, the bar in many respects is high and you need to have a clear point of differentiation to break market apathy. We could see many parts of the market were ‘stale’, so we had to prioritise, gather information and insight, and then make sense of it, piecing it together so that our design and technology build was systematic and followed a logical sequential order – and above all was knockout.
Recognising the B2B complexity is key – we are building out from small and medium business requirements (corporates, venues, and intermediaries) but mindful of the scale and sophistication path we need to take to land the larger target customer segments. So far, we are delivering very much to plan.
Of course, execution of my strategy in some areas took a different path than that which I first imagined and planned – I have had to readjust the course responding to market sentiment, the global impact of Covid on both demand and the necessary requirements of that demand as the market recovers, and in some ways, will act differently and have different pressures and opportunity that pre the pandemic. In fact, the shake down from the Covid pandemic allowed real focus and has accelerated Wizme’s position.
In taking stock of the immediate drying up of meeting demand as the pandemic spreads across the world, I had to consider how would Wizme’s target organisations be thinking and what were their priorities and future plans. From this moment we re-prioritised:
- Wizme’s core focus was to deliver a knockout Diary and Enquiry management solution for venues – a big market where decisions are quick given the problem we were solving.
- We would implement our first TMC intermediary customer – Blue Cube Travel and build on that knockout experience and point of reference to attract other TMCs looking to manage meetings and groups better, and gain competitor advantage in this space and make themselves “sticky” in their customer service relationships.
- We would land the Wizme corporate system to small medium enterprise customers, entering that market with collaborations with the likes of Miss Jones PA.
And to achieve this I needed to form a team – a close team of well networked market experts and grafters alike to deliver to our immediate goals. I also needed good market insight and wider market listening strategy through the forming of an Advisory Board (representative of our target audiences today and into the future).
And so to today …..
- The Wizme team is in place including head of sales and senior engineering team.
- Our Advisory Board is formed.
- Our Venue solution is building great momentum – HotelREZ Hotels & Resorts signing opening access to over 1,000 properties and a strong pipeline and we have been featured in The Hotel Property Team.
- The TMC Intermediary solution is now successfully implemented at Blue Cube.
- Our Corporate Enquiries have grown month on month (through our client Blue Cube Travel).
The disruptive innovation, we are delivering through the Wizme eco system, is gaining real traction. Customers of the three stakeholder groups recognise the real challenges they face in managing meetings and groups and understand how they can be addressed by the Wizme solution and the market experts in the team.
I am very excited and optimistic for the future as the world reopens and embraces the power of meetings and events.