Andrew White says now is not the time to discount but to think about a rebate on total annual spend for business events.
The market is back, apparently. Without doubt it depends on who you talk to and the type of venue in question.
City centres are struggling and London, particularly where the inbound tourist market is, is only just starting to open again. Fresh air is the hot ticket and it’s a key decider for corporates as they plan to restart their events. Unique and historic venues have always been favourites for the corporate – add in acres of space and it’s a double tick.
However, as the UK reopens and Covid abates, cities will become more combative with their offers for corporate events. So how can countryside venues hold onto their current heightened demand?
Having ‘demand’ implies that things will be less rate conscious. Rather like the housing market during the stamp duty holiday – why discount when demand is high? What you are far better to do is to look at clients’ total demand for events:
• Where are the other events that clients are putting on?
• Could your venue potentially host all of or a proportion of them?
• Ultimately, what is the total demand you could host?
Rather than hosting one or two of a client’s events, work towards becoming a preferred event supplier. And at this point you could start thinking of a discount or a rebate on their total annual spend. It’s a win-win situation where you gain loyalty, and your client achieves a cost saving.
Working with an agent
This tactic, that all the hotel and venue chains use, is particularly useful to bring into play with an agent who will be pushing for increased commission. Find out the agent’s total demand for your local area – understand the competitors they are working with and what business you could convert from these competitors. Agents regularly work to override agreements and it’s a sure-fire way of gaining more business.
The one thing the pandemic taught us is the value of relationships and support. It’s important to show this with your clients, whether it’s through a regular newsletter, client events or a drop to their office to remind them you are there. People buy people and you will be astounded at the power of relationships in the events sector. Exclusive Collection, a group of independent countryside hotels, has created an exemplary network of event professionals. The network not only drives business to Exclusive, but it has also built relationships and business opportunities with each other, and the members share best practices between themselves meaning loyalty is at an all-time high.
Offering a discount now will only lead to undermining your rates longer term. Countryside venues are at a huge advantage and should be spending time understanding and developing relationships with their current and past clients, as well as gleaning what their competitor set is up to.
By building relationships, even shaking hands (who’d have thought it!), it will have an enormous impact on demand. Regularly remind potential clients of your location, history and surroundings and you’ll see business enquire, confirm and repay.
Your biggest asset is your location and, let’s face it, what’s the cost of fresh air?
About The Author
Andrew White is MD of Triggerfish Communications, a specialist in helping heritage venues and leisure attractions build awareness and market share in the business of events. www.triggerfish.co.uk