How to seek out and market to non-traditional event customers: part 1 of 3

This blog series is separated into three parts that outline steps that can be taken before, during, and after you make efforts to secure new clients.

In part one of this blog series, I will share some thoughts around how to ensure your convention or exhibition center is prepared to take on the task of marketing to new, non-traditional event customers. Before you activate a marketing strategy to attract new clientele, you should consider the infrastructure you have in place at your convention or exhibition center to determine if you have the right foundation to support your strategy. Here are three important aspects to consider.

1. Does your convention or exhibition center have a physical layout that supports smaller, short-term bookings?

It takes a lot of resources to run an event – from electrical power to manpower – and you need to make sure you have meeting space that does not require you to open up your whole building for small, isolated events. There may also be opportunities for creativity when it comes to space configuration within your venue, just as you convert existing space into smaller breakout areas during a larger convention.

2. Does your venue have the right human resource(s) for the job?

Many of the venues I work with assign a specific employee or group of employees the responsibility of attracting business from specialized market segments. Considering the limitless variety of events that may surface, having someone who primarily focuses on marketing to “other” event clients ensures that someone is prepared in advance to manage the very unique requests that can be made by people planning weddings, banquets, holiday events, etc. Simply having someone in the right frame of mind to anticipate and react to uncommon requests can go a long way in pleasing non-traditional event customers.

3. Does your convention or exhibition center use a sales and marketing system that accurately captures data?

Attracting atypical events often means utilizing marketing and sales methods that are atypical as well, and you certainly want to measure the effectiveness of your strategy. This requires an event tracking and analysis system behind the scenes that aggregates your data and reports it back in a fashion that allows you to make decisions about what worked and what didn’t. You might try new marketing techniques to attract new events, and with any marketing activity, you’re going to want to know what your return is. In the case of competing bookings, you need reporting that indicates which events are more profitable than others so you offer the space to the right client. Activity loses its impact when it’s left unmeasured.

Once you feel confident you are organized to support non-traditional events, you can then move forward with your marketing strategy. In part two of this blog series I will offer some ideas about the best place to start when approaching a new target audience and how to determine which marketing channels – from event websites to traditional marketing methods – are most effective in reaching non-traditional event customers. Then, in part three, I will share what can be done once you’ve secured new clientele to keep them happy and make certain they are advocating for your convention or exhibition center.

How does your venue market to non-traditional event customers? I’d love to hear from you. Contact me via email or talk to us online on Twitter, LinkedIn, and Facebook. This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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