15 Things Venues Have to Do to Attract Event Planners
Do you want to attract more event planners to your space? Here are a few ways to do it based on what they need.
Competition is fierce for venues, particularly for traditional ones as more and more event planners are looking for unique options to thrill their audience. But here are 15 ways to get more event planners interested in your venue.
Free (and reliable) WiFi
Dare we say it again? No one wants to pay for WiFi any more than people want to pay for a local phone call. However, wearables and connected devices are draining existing systems. What was enough “power” a group a few years ago is slowing down considerably because most people come to events with at least 2 devices, if not more. To attract event planners, you need to reexamine your WiFi policy and strength.
World-famous modeling agents often prefer the openness of a “blank canvas” face than one that is overly complicated because they can create any work of art on it that they’d like. The same can be true of event venues these days. Yes, exquisite ballrooms are tempting to some but many event planners are looking for a blank space to tailor. At the very least they are looking for space that has transformative qualities.
Use Social Media and Lots of Images
Event planners spend a lot of time in the digital world. Sharing tips, images, and having conversations are great ways to get noticed. Venues that show their different designs at events garnering some interaction and shares will do well. Don’t forget video.
Event Planning Reviews, Not Brides and Grooms
One of the best ways to win over new event planners is through sharing reviews from other event planners. Yes, the brides and grooms are nice but they’re not the same as reviews from other professionals.
Another way to win people over is through cost psychology or knowing how people feel about pricing, what makes them act and what turns them off. For example, no one wants to pay for shipping. Some businesses build in the cost of shipping on their product and then offer FREE shipping. Others will build it in, offer a free giveaway, and FREE shipping. While you’re likely not concerned about shipping, you do need to consider price preferences. Play around with the psychology behind pricing until you find very appealing packages or tactics for your audience.
Create an Experience
Event professionals aren’t buying on cost alone these days. They’re buying on the value of the potential experience. Make sure you’re offering something that lets them easily see how they can use your venue to create that “wow” moment for their attendees.
Partner with First Stops
Usually, a venue is one of the first things secured for an event but planners who have decided on a city first, might stop at a Convention and Visitors Bureau before looking at venues. Make sure you have a good relationship with the folks over there.
Frequent spends bring incentives with loyalty programs. But before offering one make sure what you’re giving is something that will incentivize them to book with you and return in the future. If you don’t get that mix right, a loyalty program won’t convert.
Win Over Industry Influencers
Just as testimonials from other event planners are a great way to develop interest in your property, forming relationships with industry influencers can help you build a following of your own. Don’t just contact them and ask them to post about you, although some do offer sponsored posts which can provide a very high return on investment. But if you want more than a single post, if you want to really understand the business, see how you can be of service to them and start building that relationship.
Booking groups is highly competitive. Listen carefully to what the event planner is looking for and then deliver it. This also means listening on social media and in forums where event planners “hang out” virtually. What you hear should influence how you market.
Make Friends with Nearby Hotels
Your conference room may hold more people than your hotel (if you have one), so having a reciprocal agreement with nearby hotels causes your space to become just a little bit more appealing. Yes, an event planner can negotiate rates with other hotels in the area but doing that for them is one less thing they need to worry about. The same can be true of tour companies or “extras” that event planners might find useful. Bonus if your rate is better than anything they can find themselves.
VIP Gifts and Suites
The practice of giving away VIP gifts or suites to the event planner is nothing new, but what has changed is the personalization behind it. It doesn’t take much to find out someone’s preferences and offer them something the competition hasn’t considered.
Event planners are looking to offer experiences to their attendees. Show them that you are up to the task by painting pictures of past events and unusual experiences you’ve hosted (and we don’t mean the groups).
Host Memorable Events or Educational Sessions and Invite Event Planners
Teaching trumps selling. You can become an event planner’s BFF if you help them with one of their greatest needs. You could put on an expo to help them network with vendors. If you’re creative, come up with ways that you can solve a problem for them or help them and they’ll reward you with their loyalty. These ideas are also a good way to show them a different side of your venue by you putting on an event for them.
Use Drip Marketing
Drip marketing helps you stay top of mind. Even if they don’t have a client event that fits your venue at this moment, they may in the future. That’s why it’s a wise idea to stay connected. However, the key to drip marketing success is to ensure that what you are delivering is something that they value. Sending out your last-minute deals every month is not delivering value. It’s pitching.
Making an impression on event planners isn’t always easy. They’ve seen a lot of amazing things so they won’t be won over by simply a glossy brochure. You need to personalize your approach, get the conversation started, and make their jobs easier. But by doing these things, it will also make your life easier and grow a loyal following of event planners interested in using your space.
Event planners, what would you add to this post? What makes you take notice of a venue?
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