Event Data is Power, Event Data is Cheap
Knowledge is power and knowledge is cheap. Simply having knowledge is not a problem faced by many companies today. There’s 1.2 zettabytes of data in the world (that’s over 1.3 trillion gigabytes!). For most event venues, this is no different. Event data is more readily available than ever before. The real struggle is properly utilizing this knowledge. In order to use knowledge in the most effective way, you must derive meaning from the data and make an informed decision followed by an effective action.
You can’t make sound decisions with effective actions unless you have meaningful event data. Bad data (or hollow data) can be the difference between gaining or losing customers, or also missing opportunities to create greater space utilization. Utilizing event data means that the businesses decision makers can draw successful and meaningful conclusions, optimize spaces, monitor where revenue comes from and why, and make forecasts that help the businesses plan for the future.
Understanding the value
Information and knowledge are only valuable when they can be understood. People naturally come to understand event data differently. Everyone has different personal preferences for how data can be organized to make sense to them. This means some people may be more literal and require numbers on a page to truly understand what's happening while others may be more visual and require charts and graphs to extract a meaningful message from the information. But, that's the key, the data must be meaningful to begin with.
So, what is meaningful event data? It varies depending on your industry, but it’s the data and reports derived from the event that affects business processes, KPI’s, forecasts, and plans. Meaningful data usually helps evaluate the past, plan for the future, and find solutions for future problems. It is used to monitor and understand venue and space utilization, dark dates, schedules and directions, food orders, sales team performance, and possibly more.
There are a lot of businesses that collect data that is insignificant to those things outlined above. While many times it's possible to take data snapshots of information we perceive to be meaningful, it's important to have an event data plan prior to pulling reports and spending staff hours pulling information out of your systems. Ask fundamental questions and determine what data is really necessary to provide answers and make decisions prior to ever pulling a report.
Importance of customized data views
In order to allow people to make knowledgeable decisions, you must give them the tools they need to make sense of the data and draw conclusions. Every person has a different preference for displaying data; including which figures to show, how to show it, and where it should go. Whether it's visual representations of the data or plaintext numbers, configurable data charts and reports need to be available and easily accessible by staff. Some people prefer to see a visual depiction of the data. They are going to want to see graphical representations of the data such as a pie chart, gantt chart, bar graph, scatter diagram, etc. Other people prefer to look at numbers and can “see” the data in their mind (Think Neo in the Matrix). These people prefer to see data in simple lists, charts, and tables.
The best way to find out what data your team wants to see and how it's presented is by meeting with them and asking questions. Sometimes the best way to configure the information to best fit everyone’s needs is to give the staff the tools needed to organize and customize it themselves. Other times, there will need to be leaders that pull and disseminate the data to the proper parties. Once event data is configured in a way that is easily understood by staff members, it can be used to evaluate many factors of the business.
The end-goal should be to provide customized data views that can free up time staff previously spent trying to organize and understand the data. Dashboards with these custom views help your business work better, smarter, and faster. Dashboard views are critical, especially in today’s world where everyone is in a hurry or burdened. People need understandable information readily available in order to be as efficient as possible.
It’s not what you have that matters, it’s what you don’t have that matters
Without providing easily understood data views, a company wouldn’t be able to take the time to drill down into the event data that matters to find ways to create more efficiencies. The method of organizing the data is not the only obstacle when dealing with data analysis. Another struggle is realizing that it is not always what is in the report that matters, but rather what the report is missing. Most reports that companies use only include current business and ignore the lost business along the way. Companies don’t stop to collect data on lost business even though it can effectively help a company increase revenues or space usage. Because most venues don’t have the integrated software or means to track a lead and lost business, they miss out on some revenue-creating opportunities because they don’t have a system to store all the information in an easily-accessible, organized manner.
...it's not always what's in the report that matters, but rather what the report is missing.
Lost business can find its way back
I recently spoke with someone who decided to take a deep dive into their CRM database to find lost customers. They were consistently losing business and needed to understand why. They decided to add a field in the system to record why the business was lost and began to add that information to the database. After coding all the accounts of lost customers, they realized they needed to start reporting on lost business in order to capture the primary cause. Using this information, they discovered that the majority of their “lost” deals were due to their lack of size.
The venue was too small to host large events and was not drawing in the desired revenue with the smaller events. Using these reports and event data, the executives were able to make the decision to expand their facility in a cost-effective way. The facilities are now large enough to host large, big-ticket events.
Those large deals generated enough revenue to more than pay for the addition already. The building addition would have never been executed if they hadn’t taken the time to track lost sales, which ended up leading to the discovery of the major reason business was walking out the door, lack of space. Due to finding that information they were able to affordably expand the venue and increase revenues greatly in the future by being able to accommodate larger events.
The trick to increasing revenues, optimizing workflows, and developing efficiencies is to use correct, meaningful and updated data in a view that is easily understood by the reader and allows them quickly analyze and produce better results and conclusions in less time than previously, freeing up that time to do other activities that further benefit the venue.
The bottom line
In order to have effective decision-making and to continually grow revenue or space usage, a venue must adopt flexible and custom data views or configurations and use meaningful data. To continually grow and rise above the competition, you have to be able to obtain and use data in an innovative way while also having the capability to provide views that everyone can understand and work from effectively. Using integrated software can help you track elements in your business you didn’t even know you were missing to begin with. From there, revenues and space utilization will only increase.
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