Wise words from Andrew White on standing out online as a business event venue against competition with very deep pockets.

A computer monitor

The internet is without doubt a fantastic requisite part of how we now live day to day. It informs, controls, educates and – if it’s your thing – lets us show off too.

For marketeers, the ‘www’ presents immeasurable opportunities to reach new audiences, to engage with them and to ultimately drive revenue. Add in the key social media platforms and there seem to be few excuses why a business shouldn’t do well.

But e-commerce logic doesn’t necessarily follow through for the business of events; a sector that’s hard to compartmentalise and therefore tricky to commoditise. Destinations and venues can’t be tick box transactions as every venue is as individual as its ISP address.

Getting a property noticed online needs a broad reach of vocabulary and content, and while you can throw money at SEO and pay per click, I’ll guarantee you one of the big global hotel chains has far deeper pockets. Bigger budgets ensure that the terms ‘conference, meeting, unique, iconic, function, party, wedding’ will link back to their brand and its associated local property. It’s a vicious circle balancing keyword search and the integrity of your own unique brand.

Delve a little deeper than the thousands of competitor venue websites and you hit the listings sites, hundreds and hundreds of listing sites. Again, all competing for supremacy with the same muck spread of adjectives associated with the events industry; ‘conference, meeting, unique, iconic, function, party, wedding’. One level down and you’ll find the venue finders; same sh!t with the addition of ‘free venue finder conference, meeting, unique, iconic, function, party, wedding’. Add to the mix the catering companies who have all created venue sourcing arms and it’s an utter melee for venues to be found, seen and heard. Competing for market supremacy on ‘conference, meeting, unique, iconic, function, party, wedding’ is a costly and often fruitless exercise.

Choosing wisely

From Triggerfish’s experience we would always advocate do less but do it better. In other words don’t get lost in the white noise by simply jumping on the keyword bandwagon. There are seemingly bottomless pockets already at this.

Remember what is genuinely special and different about your venue and capitalise upon these words in your SEO. And do work with three or four chosen listing sites that can help your business, ensuring you develop a robust relationship that will drive your enquiries.

London Venue Search does what it says. It’s for London venues and it employs a savvy bunch of locals who know what’s going on in the capital. So, if you are a London venue look to work with them.

If you’ve a beautiful pile that would benefit from video to bring the many state rooms to life, Headbox are your people.

Square Meal has it licked for a UK presence and has one of the best databases of buyers who are seeking spaces for their events. They also have an amazing concierge service who you can get to know and build a relationship with. People buy people!

The key thing is to really get to know the people who are managing your presence so that they can help make you stand-out and individual. It’s time well spent and that will pay dividends; do less better.

Www is a brilliant resource but remember it’s an enormous resource, therefore your venue needs to look amazing on the social channels, talk amazing on the www and be as individual on the listings sites as you are as the property owner. People buy people – be bold to be as individual as your ISP address is.



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

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