Working in a venue’s sales office is tough. I know only too well the pressures of working in such an environment! You’ve tried slashing the conference rates, adding an offer on a ‘daily deal’ website, but nothing is bringing in new or repeat business. So how do you actually get more bookings? You don’t necessarily need to lower all your rates, but you do need to tell people you are there, and raising your profile is simple. Marketing can be expensive when you think about costs of magazine, radio, newspaper ads, external website listings, even flyers etc, so here’s a few free or minimal cost ideas to get you started.
1) Get social networking
Social media is a great way to engage with your customers. You can use it as a tool to add special offers (although don’t inundate people with only offers), so if you have rooms free this weekend, tell them it’s an offer only for them, it makes them feel valued as a follower. See more ‘Twitter do’s and dont’s’ here: http://www.blog.pickledgingerevents.co.uk/
2) Make friends
When local PA’s and event bookers need a venue, make sure you’re the one they call first. Start building these relationships by inviting them in for coffee, even lunch, and show them around, but with no pressure for them to hold any space. Christine Davies, Event Manager at Kettering Park Hotel & Spa says “It’s all about the people. People buy people” and I couldn’t agree more.
3) Get to know your customers
Don’t just see customers as pound signs. They will soon figure you out and will not want to keep their business where they are not valued. Get to know your customers. It’s the small attention to detail that makes us feel valued, a simple hand written Christmas card goes a long way.
4) Have an open evening
I once decided to host an open evening event for 20 event bookers in the area, which was an evening of spoiling them with dinner, wine and live cooking from a chef (as well as a show round). Yes, it cost a bit of money, but nothing compared to the continuing bookings and recommendations we got from it!
5) Host a fam trip
Invite your associated agents to a dinner and overnight stay all together so they can sample the hotel so when a customer needs a hotel in your area they recommend you as they will remember their wonderful visit. Although make sure they have a great experience (I usually find bubbles works a treat!).
There are so many other strategies to raise your venues profile, which I will continue on the Pickled Ginger blog soon!