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How to get a bigger share of the online bookings pie

Home Our Blog Hospitality How to get a bigger share of the online bookings pie
online booking, How to get a bigger share of the online bookings pie, NFS Technology

One thing that is certain is that the world of events is changing. For the good.

For clients the digital realm is becoming increasingly important as a means to pique their interest whether its social media, on online directory or a website.

It can be more than an attention-getter. With integration between the web and your conference room booking software it can a revenue generator too.

Let’s explore how having an integrated digital toolkit for conference room booking and small events can reap dividends.

Green shoots of recovery

The future is looking rosy.

Despite difficult trading conditions, London is booming with at least 18 new hotels opening in 2021. Our partner, Venue Performance, has produced data which shows that London meetings and event venues increased the number of events they ran by 231% in September 2021 compared with August. As the chart below demonstrates this is part of a wider increase in event planning confidence this year:

how-to-get-a-bigger-share-of-the-online-bookings-pieClick to Enlarge

It’s not just London that is seeing improvements. It’s part of a global trend with the recent Amex Global Business Travel survey finding that over two-thirds of respondents are seeing pre-pandemic activity levels firmly in their sights in the short-term.

The nature of those meetings is changing with event planners opting for smaller meeting sizes. Amex Global Business Travel is finding that this is now the most common meeting type with 21% of all meetings falling into this category.

With sustainability high on event planners’ agendas, venues which offer a smaller and possibly hybrid experience are well-placed to prosper due to clients’ commitment to the green agenda.

How to capitalise on this trend?

Increasingly, the online sphere is driving the way forward in terms of revenue opportunities. While having a well-performing website is important, this is only one part of the buyers’ digital journey. They could also be interacting with you on social media, via email marketing or directory sites.

You need to think about an omni-channel approach. Put simply, this is a multi-channel marketing approach which is fully integrated across these various platforms.

To fully succeed at omnichannel marketing you need to have a fully joined up technology stack which gives you a single view of the customer wherever they interact with your brand.

You also need to offer them a frictionless experience where they can take action – make a booking and/or payment – efficiently.

Conference room booking software

The engine room of the customer experience is your conference room booking software solution. It is a great repository for centralising all your client data – whether from online, offline enquiries or third-party sites.

For more complex events it is a great tool for tracking all the pre-sale client interactions and with integrations to e-signature platforms getting prospects to sign, virtually, on the dotted line became a lot easier.

Integration with directory sites

Directory sites are becoming an increasingly important part of the event bookers arsenal. They save them a lot of time scouring multiple websites.

Therefore, they can be an important plank in your multi-channel marketing strategy. Sites such as Venuedirectory.com offer a lucrative platform for over 20,000 events venues and their features such as Instant Booking they could potentially mean that clients can be booking space immediately.

Our new integration between Rendezvous conference room booking and Venue Directory enables venues to:

  1. Easily see how many bookings they are making through this channel
  2. Streamline processes – all bookings are entered automatically into Rendezvous
  3. No double bookings – it utilises live inventory
  4. Reduce the number of RFPs they need to respond to

The cost and time efficiencies of marrying these two systems are significant. Time spent on answering questions on RFPs or keying in data can be spent in more profitable ways such as relationship building with new clients.

Online booking

Of course, you should still offer online booking through your website.

Integration between your website and the conference room booking software offers several benefits:

  1. Control over the rooms which you choose to offer online
  2. You can sell space 24/7
  3. Take orders and process payments automatically
  4. No need to key in bookings – fully automated

With the integration between Rendezvous and online booking, you can return to the office with confirmed bookings waiting in your inbox each morning.

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CRM

While it would be great to think that every potential customer who visited your site or received an email would sign on the virtual dotted line this is an expectation unmatched by reality. You need a mechanism to keep these prospects engaged until they are ready to buy.

Integrating your conference room booking software with your CRM enables you to:

  1. Generate attractive and targeted email campaigns for all web enquiries
  2. Automate the follow up process
  3. Personalise your marketing messages
  4. Target prospects across all channels such as Instagram and Facebook
  5. Identify motivated prospects which you can pass automatically to sales for follow up

We recommend Microsoft Dynamics as a leading CRM solution which works seamlessly with Rendezvous.

Conclusion

While it is important to select a best of breed conference room booking solution it is also key in today’s competitive landscape to use all the leading tools at your disposal – an increasingly impatient cohort of event bookers want the same type of digital experience they get from, say, booking a hotel room.

An integrated approach means they can see and, more importantly, interact with your live availability on their schedule. It saves your staff time too having to manually typing in enquiry form information – instead they can concentrate on more lucrative prospects rather than a small conference room booking.

Check out our video success story from the Union Club to see how Rendezvous has streamlined their processes and saved them from a pile of admin.

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      • How easy it is to manage complex bookings including A/V, catering and porterage
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      • The CRM benefits of our lead management module for generating more conversions
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    Luis De Souza
    Luis De Souza Chief Executive Officer Posted on: December 28, 2021
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