Event planners’ confidence has risen tremendously since the government has announced the return of all events from the 29th June.
So much so that Conference News reports a staggering 294% increase in events enquiries since this welcome news.
With only a few weeks away until you can open your doors again now is the time for venues to look at the technology stack needed so you can maximise every sales opportunity, fill limited spaces and increase profit margins.
Raise the game
With an increase in enquiries you need to make sure that you have the systems in place to cope with this extra demand after what has been an extraordinarily fallow period.
A solution is needed which can manage:
- An increased volume of incoming enquiries
- A heavier than usual workload for the sales team
- Pipeline and opportunity management
A dedicated venue management software solution is crucial for this. We recommend a solution that makes it easy to capture client details and records key information such as source of business and industry type.
The solution needs to have fail-safe task management features so your staff never miss a lucrative sales opportunity.
Even more importantly, you need to be able analyse this data and take action! Sales executives need to be able to see where their stuck opportunities are and take necessary measures to move them through the sales process.
Online bookings – work smarter not harder
Speaking of processes, a typical venue will spend approximately 50 minutes processing an incoming enquiry. A significant investment of time.
Automating this process makes business sense as your sales team can then use this time better for managing the larger, more complex and revenue-generating events which are going to really impact your bottom line.
Offering an efficient online booking experience is a great way to promote and sell smaller meeting spaces with packages and add ons.
An online booking solution needs to beyond a simple enquiry form. It needs to encompass a process which enables the booker to fully self-sufficient. It needs to:
- Integrate with the venue management software
- Offer live booking availability
- Let event bookers choose their own packages from a drop down
- Offer an automated RFP facility for simple events
- Have a call to action for sales staff to get involved for complex bookings
- Integrate with online payment systems
By offering this level of integration you almost eliminate the amount of admin that your sales team need to do while also offering your room inventory on a 24/7 basis.
Your event bookers will appreciate the speed of service and integration with your venue management software enables you to nurture them for future business.
Added sales and marketing firepower
For added sales and marketing firepower we recommend that you find a venue management software solution which interfaces seamlessly with a CRM.
The integration will raise your sales and marketing game by providing:
- The capability to create eye-catching email campaigns
- A calendar for automated social media postings
- Attractive and professional proposals
- Full integration with Outlook and Word
- Detailed sales and marketing dashboards
- A full picture of booking availability for your sales team
- Attractive and comprehensive reporting dashboards
By putting such systems in place you have all the tools to increase sales conversions in the short term while also building up a future pipeline of enquiries and opportunities.
Maximise space utilisation
With graphical diary capability it should be easy for your sales staff to see at a glance which rooms are available on a daily, weekly or monthly basis.
They can also drill down to see what the room configurations and capacities are so that they always provide the most appropriate room for their needs. Features to add breakout rooms to the booking means they can maximise space and revenues.
A waitlist feature is a necessity in these uncertain times ensuring that you never miss a sales enquiry if a client decides to cancel.
Yield management has long been an established method for hoteliers to maximise their profit margins on online room bookings.
Put simply, hotels change their bedroom rates daily in line with demand to ensure that they maximise occupancy.
This concept is now making inroads into the venue market with venues now looking to effectively revenue manage their space. Effective strategies for this include delivering discounted rates based on lead-times, occupancy levels or days of week.
A venue management software solution will arm you with the tools you need to make these strategies a success giving you all the data you need to make these decisions:
- Historical information on occupancy levels
- Information on lead lifetime
- Reports on bookings by days of week
Hotel yield management has traditionally been seen as a tactical measure concerned with maximising sales and stimulating demand. Utilising data from your venue management software you can turn this into a strategic and more profitable exercise by looking out you can incentivise packages and add-ons.
We’d recommend taking a few hours to evaluate what the room occupancy levels are, which days of the week are the busiest, what add-ons you can sell and what the average lead times are. You can then create incentivised campaigns e.g. book now for an “early bird” offer for meetings for 20 people for Wednesday mornings with teas and coffees at a reduced rate.
What does it all add up to?
Once you have the correct technology stack in place you will enjoy the following benefits:
- An enhanced enquiry handling process
- Effective sales lead follow up
- Powerful multi-channel marketing
- Email nurture of leads
- Seamless online bookings
- Maximum use of space
- A process for mitigating against booking cancellations
- Data for making intelligent and profitable pricing decisions
With pent up demand predicted to be high over the next few months it pays to have systems in place which will maximise every opportunity for revenue. But what happens next?
Any decision about technology should also be based on a long-term view. Look for a solution set that will drive your business forward whether this is in terms of account managing sales opportunities, driving website traffic via social media, nurturing existing leads, managing online bookings and informing pricing strategy.
With the correct software in place you can future-proof your business and thrive.