If you want to get business done, you need to do it online. But with all of the options available in the event industry, what online tools work best for venue managers, and how do you use them to measure success?
The best way to integrate technology into your event planning is to look at it from three areas that will help boost your business:
1. Sales productivity
2. Revenue growth
3. Strengthening client relationships.
So let’s talk about these areas and how an event management tool can improve all three:
Think about all of the tasks involved in event sales: finding new leads, reviewing event contracts, and keeping track of all of the large and small details that are part of planning an event. If you’re using phone calls, in-person meetings, individual email conversations, and paperwork to get these done, you don’t have a lot of time left in your day.
An event management tool can make these tasks easier and less time-consuming, and that means you have more time to make more sales.
Most platforms can help you capture and receive event leads online through your website, social media, and email marketing, along with other channels. They can also help you streamline the entire event planning process by creating online documents in seconds (allowing you to communicate with clients within the system), providing the most up-to-date information, and managing all of your events and contacts in one dashboard.
You have sales goals, but do you have a smart sales strategy? If you don’t know exactly what’s working for you, you won’t be able to take advantage of it in order to meet or exceed your revenue expectations.
Analytics can show you what’s working and what’s not, which allows you to focus on tactics that are driving revenue and stop wasting energy on the ones that aren’t helping your business. Event management platforms include analytics and reporting features that give you meaningful insights to grow revenue and grow your venue’s usiness.
Use the data to find out what types of events bring you the most business, which clients are your big spenders, what markets you should be pursuing, and the times, days, and seasons that have the potential for the most growth.
STRENGTHENING CLIENT RELATIONSHIPS
It’s important that your business makes a great first impression and a lasting relationship with your clients. The best way to accomplish this is by using your event management tool in tandem with the variety of marketing platforms available for businesses.
Start with building a strong lead form with your event management system and placing it on the online tools that prospects use to find you: your website, your social media accounts, your blog, Google business listings, digital ads, and email marketing. Maintain a searchable presence across these online tools by using the keywords that match your venue with the types of events, amenities, and services that prospective customers want.
Once you book a client, keep that relationship going. Target clients based on event type, seasonality, or other needs, and let them know the latest information about what you offer and how you can help through your website, email marketing, and social media marketing.
Go even further and build an online presence that shows your expertise by sharing tips, trends, advice, photos and what’s happening behind the scenes at your venue. Clients will appreciate that you’re keeping them up to date and providing them with helpful resources. You’ll be top of mind when they’re getting ready to book their next event.
DON’T GET LEFT BEHIND
We live and work in an on-demand, technology-driven economy. If you’re still using binders and clipboards for event sales and planning, you’re going to get left behind by competitors who have embraced online tools.
It may take some time to find the right tools that fit your business and figure out how to use them, but introducing an event management platform and online marketing tools will streamline your operations, provide more opportunities, and grow your sales.
Jonathan Morse is the CEO and founder of Tripleseat, a web application for restaurants, hotels and unique venues designed to increase event bookings and streamline the planning process. Before launching Tripleseat, he was vice president of sales for a web startup that delivered business intelligence reporting to the restaurant industry.