Getting customers to choose your event venue over the competition is a hard and arduous task, not least when every other business now seems to be doubling up as an event location. Whether it is multi-purposing, rebranding or even opting for external advertising and point of sale (such as Expocart who specialise in street signage) there are some common sense ways that you can ensure your venue is a success.
Know and Advertise Transport Links
You may know that your venue is only 30 seconds from the city's largest train station, but do your customers? How will they know which bus to get from the nearest airport? Simply relying on people to know how well served you are by transport links is pointless. Having a good location does not sell itself, so getting out there and actively capitalising on ease of local transport is a must.
Do Not 'Specialise' at The Expense of Others
It's all well and good being known as, say, a music venue first and foremost. But if you have conference and banqueting facilities, or some other asset that is not as often used, this is money being poured down the sink. Too many venues concentrate on their strongest selling points at the expense of so many other things that they have going for them. Look at each facet of your venue, envisage an event where it might be used and look to branch out.
We've just encouraged venue owners to branch out and diversify, but at the same time, if your venue is poorly suited to a particular type of event, it's often best not to try and even compete in that field. It's a familiar scenario; conference venues with poor musical acoustics, or sports clubs with basic, dated facilities that are not conducive to a black-tie event. The only thing worse than not selling your venue enough is being known as someone who tried unsuccessfully to corner too many markets.
Advertise The Venue, At The Venue!
This is a no-brainer, but it is amazing how many times it is forgotten. People will walk, drive or otherwise travel past your venue daily, and may not even know what purpose your building serves, or what seasonal offers and discounts you are offering. Do not rely on people to find out for themselves; customers need spoon feeding. If there is room for an 'A-board' outside or a vinyl banner on a street facing wall, use it; get yourself out there and heard!
Employ an Events Manager if Needed
If you run the day to day operations but aren't 'events minded', get someone in who is. Remember that events managers do this day in, day out. There's no shame in letting them shine while you count the profits, and they can even be hired on an 'ad hoc' basis through freelance websites.
Any events venue needs to stay abreast of the latest technology and health and safety requirements. An old, outdated A/V port may sound inconsequential, but if it derails a meeting, those 60 delegates might not be coming back...ever. Similarly, not having an up to date fire policy, for example, can, and has in the past, resulted in venues being shut down on their busiest days, resulting in legal action and lost revenue.
New customers are great, but repeat customers are even better. They know what your venue does, how to get there, what to budget for and how to make their event the absolute best it can be when using your venue. When customers are done with their event, stay in touch, get feedback, encourage ongoing relationships and you will see clients coming back time and time again... repeat bookings are much easier to manage than new customers.