How do you turn an enquiry into a booking?
We thought in this rare quiet moment that January tends to bring to the events industry, it might be useful for you to think about not just what makes a great event but how you get that far.
The hospitality and events industry has one of the lowest conversion rates across every industry in the UK.
Well, before Christmas, we tried to book a Christmas do and we think we might have a few answers for you on this one.
We reached out to 19 venues for a small group booking with enquiries about a private room, because we wanted space to work in the morning and then to eat and drink a little later.
Remember… this is out of 19 venues. We ended up joining the office party at the co-working space we use. Mostly because it was simpler, they let us book tickets online and we didn’t need google maps to find the way. Partly, because they promised our resident marketer she could have control of the music at some point, a decision everyone would come to regret. Basically, we wound up choosing the EASIEST option because well, we have limited time and patience and ended up at a venue that wasn’t even on our original list of potential spots.
So here’s what turned us off…
No live booking
Not a single venue could offer us live booking, we either had telephone numbers or emails on pages that didn’t offer a huge amount of information about what we’d be booking in the first place.
The phone numbers were generally generic, taking us through to the front of house team where, understandably, no one had access to the paper diary or pricing. Only two venues asked us for contact details to send more information, and neither of those actually ended up sending it.
Half of the enquiry forms required us to chase up at least once before getting a response and not a single one had all the information we needed so required a lot of back and forth.
Only one venue could offer us availability over the phone, and we had to phone at three separate occasions to actually get the events manager when they were available. We have no clue if the venues we wanted to go to had space for us because we got bored before we could find out.
Only three venues could give us any pricing of packages over the phone, and one of those said it was only an estimate. No one seemed clear on their pricing, especially when it came to room hire because they weren’t sure on the seasonal rates. Having worked in hospitality, we totally understand that, but as customers weren’t thrilled to hear the price we’d just be given might actually be half of what we’d be expected to pay.
So, how do you make sure your enquiry converts?
We booked with the first venue that could give us a clear price, a clear explanation of what we were paying for, availability and instant booking.
Switch can certainly help with responsiveness, transparency and clarity. Our software will allow up to date calendars, instant booking, dynamic pricing, automated comms and a lot more.
But there’s also a lot that you can do from your end, in fact, need to do, to get customers to that booking page.
Make sure your website copy is up to date and has a lot of information about your venue, what types of events it’s suitable for. Frankly, “Suitable for all occasions!” Isn’t that helpful, especially for google who’s trying to work out where to rank your website when it comes to terms like “birthday party Nottingham”.
Images & layouts
It’s surprising how many event pages don’t actually have photos of the spaces they’re hiring out - it’s not enough to know it’s a relaxing nook that can fit 30 if I can’t actually see it. What’s the decor like? Is it upstairs? What are the seats like? If I’m hiring a room out for a meeting, what layouts are available? And what space will they leave me with? Whether you want a customer to book a viewing for a wedding or simply book a meeting online, they need to know what they’re investing their time, and potential money in, if you want to hear from them.
Are you sending customers to a generic email address so there’s a potential get lost? Does the phone number go directly to someone who can actually deal with an enquiry? Does your enquiry form have enough information for you to check availability or are you always having to chase up for more information?
If you’re ready to really turn on the potential of your space, book a demo with Switch today to see how we can help.