Now is a great time to take stock of what you need to drive your events business forward into 2021 and beyond as the market opens again.
With the right preparation and action, your venue can come back recalibrated and stronger than ever. So what should you be doing right now?
No-one doubts that the business landscape is evolving, and these are the trends you should take into account when strategically planning if you want to turn them these into new opportunities:
- A move to smaller events
- Reduced client budgets for events
- Smaller events mean catering revenue is also reduced
- Social distancing will be key – smaller events don’t mean smaller space
- The rise of virtual and hybrid events
The last six months have changed the meetings and events industry at a structural level. Customer buying preferences and their event budgets have also changed.
With less revenue coming in and marketing budgets squeezed, venues need to focus on their existing clients and building those relationships.
A venue management system can be a great accelerant of business development when it comes to identifying revenue opportunities.
For new business, effective targeting is required that aligns with the event buyer’s requirements.
Don’t assume that what worked in the past will succeed in the future – focus on what has changed in terms of client requirements, their people and changing business strategy. Find out what they are looking for and work towards that.
Increasing client retention
Effective client retention is all about the appliance of strategic thinking and targeting. While it might seem attractive to reach out to all clients, or clients you like, it’s not really an effective way of spending your finite time and resources and such an approach is unlikely to yield the best result for your business.
The magic equation
For excellent client retention, concentrate 80% of your efforts on the top 20% of clients – they generate 80% of revenue. It makes sense – work smarter not harder, maximise a limited marketing spend and improve overall revenue.
For client retention to work, you need to take a hard look at your data. Using venue management software you can easily identify who your top clients are by revenue to create personalised and highly targeted marketing and loyalty campaigns.
By appealing to your existing clients with regular marketing communications you will keep top of their mind. Your aim should be to increase the lifetime value of your clients.
Increase the share of existing customers
Increasing the loyalty of your existing clients can have a dramatic effect on your business.
Look at this example:
Your client books 4 events a year at an average cost of £5000 for 2 years.
Their lifetime value is £40,000.
Imagine what would happen if you could get them to sign up for one more year and upsell them one more event in the process.
You customers’ lifetime value would increase to £65,000 – an extra 62.5% of revenue.
What about new business?
We see a number of opportunities going forward:
- Smaller events
- Hybrid events
- Outdoor events
- Sustainable events
- Online bookings
- Broadcast services and AV
While it may seem odd to see weddings as a growth industry, with pent up demand from 2020 then 2021 should be a prime time for anyone offering wedding packages.
Savvy operators are already beginning to pivot towards hybrid events. While this may require some initial investment in AV, better broadband and streaming services it means that you have an extra opportunity for monetisation by offering your expertise and facilities.
Time to take action
While it’s great to be analysing your data and calculating projected revenue, you also need to take action and engage.
Typically, this engagement is going to be digital. We recommend a multi-channel approach to capture the attention of your clients and prospects:
- Loyalty programmes
- Social media
A good of suite of marketing tools is necessary to gain a competitive advantage. We recommend using a best of breed venue management system with seamless integration to a CRM solution as offering the best of both worlds in terms of aligning sales effort to marketing strategy.
Increasingly, the conversation is taking place organically on social media. The pandemic has given prospects more time to spend on social.
Join the conversation through a combination of your own social media campaigns and social listening to, say, the 7000 people who have used the hashtag #weddingvenuesuk.
Tying it all together is your website, where you will need to create compelling inbound content as well as using it for landing pages for your other marketing initiatives. Also, with the trend towards online bookings it can also become a 24/7 cash generator for you if integrated with the venue management system.
Finally, think about branding
With so much choice for your clients and with venues hungry for business, now is the time to make sure that your branding is aligned with your core values and that you have articulated your unique selling proposition.
Branding is more than just about creating an attractive logo – it’s also about creating the key messages to make your venue stand out from the crowd.
Your brand should permeate every touchpoint with your client, from the website to email to social media to that initial phone call to when they finally make the booking.
With the key trends in mind, you could, for example, promote yourself as a hybrid events venue with a key point of differentiation being that your venue offers a state of the art editing suite, fast broadband, cameras and project management for streaming events.
By differentiating your service offering and by going that extra mile with your clients you can ensure their repeat business and increase their lifetime value for years to come.
Your success going forward into 2021 and beyond requires a rethink of your business model – but with the right tools it is possible to differentiate your offering and thrive it what is a competitive arena.
Download our Sales Guide and Dynamics Factsheet for great tips and ideas.