Bill Gates had it right when he said: “In almost every job now, people use software and work with information to enable their organisation to operate more effectively.” You’d think that would be true of venues, wouldn’t you?
But as recent research has shown, venues are still grinding along, relying on manual processes and a rag-tag bunch of Microsoft desktop applications pushed beyond their original purpose.
Could do better? Definitely – I can count at least five ways an integrated venue management solution can save venues time and costs:
- Diary it better
- Answer it swiftly
- Capture it automatically
- Bill for it efficiently
- Understand your customers deeply
Diary it better
There’s definitely a range of ways you can manage your diary – Outlook, Google Calendar and Excel; even a desk diary.
But while these are great for personal use, they’re not so great at handling the complexity of managing multiple rooms or spaces across a team.
It’s very easy to double book rooms with such systems – wasting time and causing embarrassment when you have to let clients down.
With a dedicated venue management solution, your whole team can see at a glance what is available and what has been booked.
With a simple drag and drop process an event can be booked in seconds – double bookings become a thing of the past.
What’s more, with dedicated software it is possible to create wait lists. So if an in-demand room is cancelled, another customer gets first pick – something difficult to do without a specialist solution.
Follow it up swiftly
While you can collect and update sales enquiries on an Excel spreadsheet, it’s hardly dynamic – and it’s easy to forget to follow up, because Excel doesn’t do reminders.
Outlook can be used for reminders, but it lacks something in the note-taking department – so, it’s back to Excel to record everything relating to an event.
A venue management solution offers a more streamlined experience because everything is on one screen – client details, notes and reminders.
You should find yourself spending less time on duplicate data entry and more on sales follow up.
Capture it automatically
It’s entirely possible to create function sheets in Word – if you have the patience to collate and type every last detail about an event and you’re 100% certain nothing is going to change.
Unfortunately, if you are using a combination of Excel spreadsheets and Outlook to record client communications there’s more margin for error.
If the client makes a last-minute change, the sheets have to be typed up again or, worse, the changes and associated costs get missed off and not communicated to your service providers.
Venue management software captures and centralises every action and resource relating to an event automatically.
This data can be turned into tasks and reminders which appear immediately when the user logs in, or function sheets can be printed off or emailed.
What you can be certain of is that any changes, and associated costs, will always be communicated to your service staff and accounts. Events will run without a hitch.
Bill for it efficiently
Once all that hard work is finished, you want to make sure you can produce timely invoices with all costs captured.
Some venues have to cross-reference Excel files and type up an invoice in Word – a laborious and error-prone process.
Using venue management technology it becomes a simple push-button process to produce an invoice at the end of an event and sent it straight to the client.
As all costs are captured in the solution, you can rest assured that the invoices are 100% accurate – great for cashflow and profitability.
Understand your customers deeply
You’ve worked hard to gain customers and to give them a great experience, so it pays to have a system in place to keep them coming back for more.
While it’s possible to maintain a mailing list in Excel, it’s not the most efficient way to do things – especially as data can become stale quickly. In this age of GDPR you want to keep your data pristine.
A good venue software solution with dedicated CRM is the way forward.
Using its built-in business intelligence it’s possible to analyse which customers are bringing in the most revenue and target them accordingly, or segment your database by market type for targeted promotions.
With GDPR in mind it’s also possible to clean and purge data quickly and automatically – an almost impossible task on a spreadsheet.
As I said at the beginning, Bill Gates had it right when he linked software with effective operations.
And in the data-driven world he has helped to create, it pays to invest in software – even (or maybe especially) if you’re a venue business.
- Find out more about venue management software here.
How venues are using technology now – DOWNLOAD the free ebook.