Last week our technical team of CRM based in Mumbai, India completed implementing the first phase of another project of configuring and customizing Dynamics Microsoft CRM for Dynamics CRM partner in Boston, USA. This time the agenda was to mould MS CRM into an application which could be used by an Event Management company.  Read more about IOTAP’s Dynamics MSCRM case studies.

This Event Management Company provides services to companies which host various events that run over days, like seminars. Their high-level process is that when a corporate body plans to host a seminar requiring accommodating attendees in hotels, they approach such Event Management Companies. On receiving a request, the latter arranges for hotel rooms from amongst the hotels present in their list of hotel masters. This process includes communicating with designated people of one or more hotels with details like number and type of rooms and number of days required etc from each.

Responses from the contacted hotels could be varied. For example, some hotels might not be able to accommodate anyone at all during the time period requested for, whereas some might be able to provide service for a few guests for a certain number of days. The dialogue between the hotels and the Event Management Company could be exchanged multiple times for the latter to conclude on the best possible option to accommodate the guests. Finally, the Event Management Company confirms the availability of rooms to the hosting company or further contacts other Hotels.

So, to automate this, we understood that the resulting software would be largely goaled to be the core application for storing the details of events and hotels and also storing the communications done with hotel contacts.
An entity called Hotel was created, the access to the details of which was provided only to the Administrator. Primary information like address details, on-site contacts, leads etc were stored for each hotel and a provision to maintain the history of the activities done against each hotel was also maintained.

Also, we needed to have an entity which could hold the details of an Event for which we customized the Opportunity entity. The creation and pursuance of events was kept identical to that of standard opportunities. Attributes like Primary Proposed Arrival Date, Primary Proposed Departure Date, Event Contact, Event Type, Room Details and many more were attached to this entity. Additionally, the user was also allowed to select one or multiple contacts associated with one or multiple hotels present in the hotel master as explained further.

On successfully saving the details of an event, the hotel contacts selected for the same required a way to respond to the request. The usual email communication would not suffice this requirement because the responses from the hotel contacts needed to be further tracked for decision making and thus they had to be placed in one repository.

To do this, a separate interface, Hotel Portal, was built using which the hotel contacts would be able to view the requests sent by the Event Management Company and respond to them with their interests. From the security point of view, the login credentials of the hotel contacts were maintained in MS CRM by its Administrator.

Once all the responses would be accumulated in Dynamics MS CRM from the Hotel Contacts, they were visible to the Event Management Company employees for further pursuance.

Usability features have been taken into consideration at various instances. For example, for the hotel portal users to get a hold on significant data in one glance, a summary page has been provided. Event Status, Peak Room Nights, Total Room Nights, Important Dates (like arrival and departure) shown at one go accumulated on one page, helps users quickly take a call on which records require urgent attention.
Additionally, Response History and Summary are displayed to the users for referring to related past data.

Though online applications like EventPro and EventSoft are popular amongst event managers, but for people who are already friendly with MS CRM, configuring and customizing the system to serve these requirements could prove to be a much easier approach. Also, when data is stored in one repository, managing and manipulating it any day can be done with better proficiency.