Surprising Results: Would Your Venue Rather Manage Space or Customer Relationships?

Pop quiz, venue managers:

If given a choice, would you rather manage a room in your venue or your relationship with the customer in the room?

I’d like to assume that you would prefer to protect your relationship with the customer who booked space in your room. But if statistics are any indication of where priorities reside, then my assumptions are incorrect.

As part of its VenueDataSource industry data collection project, the International Association of Venue Managers (IAVM) recently released their 2013 technology survey showing that 78% of venues are using event booking software. Obviously, booking venue space is a critical component of managing events, so this comes as no surprise.

But, what surprised me in IAVM’s technology report was that less than half (40%) of venues are using customer retention management products and only a quarter (26%) are using sales contact database products. When you compare that with the 78% of venues using booking software, there is quite a clear gap. Is simply booking space enough to grow your venue’s revenue?

Some venues are managing the space they put people in, but not the relationships with the people in the space.

Booking is about more than the room where the event takes place. You are booking space with people. If you want to book more space more frequently and with more accuracy, you need technology that both books space and manages your relationship with the people in the space.

Venues are using event booking software without using CRM and sales contact database technology, which means they are capturing a sale of a room to a person but perhaps not any additional information about that person. Information that will help them in their efforts to manage personal preferences and details, and even capture future sales from that same person or the other people they bring into your venue.

Good customer relationship management helps book non-traditional events that increase revenue.

According to insight provided by PricewaterhouseCoopers at the 2013 International Convention Center Conference (ICCC), over the past 5 years there has been a 42% increase in space utilization from “other” events. No doubt, events that are atypical for your venue bring about great new revenue opportunities.

Non-traditional events also bring to life new complexities for your venue. Different event types mean different sales cycles, different types of clientele, different marketing approaches to attract clients, and so on. When things start to become that different within your venue, it is very useful to have consistency in the way operations, people, and spaces are managed. This is where having a cross-functional, unified venue management software system becomes almost imperative.

When you use single-purpose software that can’t be used across departments, you are setting your staff up for more frustration. There is more room for error and time wasted from manual, duplicate data entry. Details get missed. Clients get upset.

How does your venue manage its customer relationships? Do you feel you have outgrown the limited, space-booking-only capabilities of your current software system? I’d love to hear more about how your venue prioritizes its technology acquisitions. Connect online at LinkedIn or Twitter or contact me via email. This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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