On Feb. 20th, ACTIVE Network made an announcement that the Business Solutions Group of which I am part of would be split off from the rest of ACTIVE and merged with another Vista Equity company, Lanyon. The new combined group will be known as Lanyon. Since that announcement, the industry has been abuzz with chatter via social media, e-mails, news articles, etc.
The overall reaction has been overwhelmingly positive, most notably by leading industry analysts including my good friend Christopher J. Dwyer, research director at Ardent Partners, a leading supply management research and advisory firm. He went on record to say: “To capture, control, and manage meetings, events and transient hotel spend, the contemporary enterprise requires a series of end-to-end processes that address hotel and venue sourcing, analytics, reporting, spend management, and compliance. Once combined, the ‘new’ Lanyon offering can help procurement and sourcing teams gain a holistic, enterprise-level view of their events-management programs.”
But what does this really mean to the many entities that comprise the eco-system of our industry and marketplace? I thought I would share with you my views as to how this will impact each key player in the eco-system.
C Level: The new Lanyon for the near term will be the only true enterprise technology platform where senior executives will be able to receive and view their enterprise spend data not just for corporate travel expenses, but also for the first time, their meetings/events spend. Today, based on the maturity of the business travel marketplace and corporate programs, they are receiving tons of big data around their business travel spend, even boiling it down to what is known as “Total Cost of Trip”. Today for the meetings and events industry, with decentralization prevalent at most corporations, with numerous point solution suppliers and disparate data gathering formats and integrations, it is very challenging to get close to a “Total Cost of Attendee” figure. The new Lanyon will be the only true enterprise cloud solution that will be able to provide that level of big data to the marketplace.
Travel & Meeting Buyers: The new Lanyon Smart Cloud technology will be scalable for your respective programs; your program maturity can incorporate functionalities and features as you need them. You will be able to have smarter and more meaningful negotiations with your suppliers as you will be able to leverage your enterprise spend for not just your transient spend but also for your meetings/events spend. In this day and age where the demand is outpacing the supply and the hotel and venue suppliers hold the cards when it comes to rate and amenity negotiations, Lanyon clients will have a significant advantage over other companies because their spend intelligence will give them better information to negotiate with their program suppliers.
Suppliers: Lanyon customers will have better data and information to conduct more productive negotiations with you. Intelligent clients who truly know and understand their buying patterns can focus on being more strategic in terms of relationship development with you. Prioritization of responses to Lanyon driven eRFPs will result in better market share and revenue performance for your corporate agreements.
Procurement/Finance: Lanyon’s technology will allow for optimal supplier rationalization especially for strategic sourcing initiatives. Companies can easily eliminate 3-4 current point solution technologies servicing niche areas of transient, meetings & events business with a singular enterprise technology cloud that is exclusive to only Lanyon. The cost savings and program management becomes less costly and difficult to manage resulting in a more meaningful and productive preferred supplier relationship.
Intermediaries: The combined customer base for Lanyon is unparalleled and is the envy of the industry. Working with Lanyon and our enterprise solutions will require little to no change management for your clients as the majority of them currently use Lanyon technology via their transient programs and/or via their meetings/events SMMP.
In closing I have to share a story with you. Five to six years ago, after leaving the corporate world to join StarCite, I recommended to our then CEO that we should look into purchasing or merging with Lanyon in order to produce a truly enterprise technology that could provide comprehensive spend data and functionality to corporate buyers as well as to the meetings/event buyers and planners. Unfortunately by the time he looked into that possibility, Lanyon was purchased by Vista Equity.
Now fast forward to present day. Vista Equity also owns ACTIVE Network | StarCite via ACTIVE Network. It is indeed a small world where the right things go full circle. I am excited to be part of this historic merger as I believed in it many years ago. I believe in the marketplace power of the newly combined Lanyon. I am privileged and excited to be a part of the executive team that will transform this marketplace and drive the much needed convergence of players. Please continue to watch this space as we prove to everyone that our strategy and roadmap for the industry is not just the best path forward; it’s the right path.