Why event providers don't offer online booking.
This was the question we kept asking when we started to look at events and private hire. Here's what we found out and what we did about it.
We thought now would be a good time to remind ourselves of why Switch exists.
Especially as Covid-19 has led us to rethink how we will operate safely in the events and meetings hire sector.
About a year ago we went deep into research mode to understand the industry, spending 4 months alongside events teams in hotels, universities, pubs, sports clubs, business hubs, theatres and councils to get a deep understanding of how these services were delivered.
And importantly to get the answer as to why online booking of private hire services just didn't exist. Despite it being a mainstay of nearly every other consumer buying process.
Industry questions, Switch answers
To keep things simple, we've outlined what we learned and how we built a solution around common challenges.
There are too many variables involved in providing a quote to do online booking.
You can configure Switch so it makes the same decisions you would when creating a quote. You can create the most detailed rate cards. You can create packages. You can create discounts and promotions and assign them to individual customers or groups of customers. Likewise with payment and cancellation terms. You can create a tailor-made experience through an online booking service.
I'm nervous about giving up control of the process when the customer relationship is so valuable.
You can add a confirmation step to every booking process. The customer will still make the commitment, but you'll be able to eye-ball every booking and decline or amend any that don't work before final confirmation and payment are taken.
Some things, like weddings, just don't lend themselves to a transactional booking service.
You can set certain, less vanilla, occasion types as enquiry only. You can then focus these customers on the action you want them to take next. Booking tours and visits can also be configured on Switch so your more bespoke clients can still find the answer they are looking for online and you get one step closer to a significant booking.
I have to retain control on pricing and quotes.
Because you've configured the rules in Switch to mirror how YOU build a package and quote, your staff can run the end to end process by following the system prompts when talking to a customer. You own the commercials, but your team can drive booking conversion without the risk of misquoting because the engine is setup to think like you.
Administering the end to end process helps us provide the hands on service our customers expect.
We understand service is everything, so we attacked the jobs that hinder doing even more for the customer. We've built a stack of email and SMS templates that you can tailor and auto-send based on stages in the process. We've built the triggers that drive activity so your front of house and back of house teams have visibility of the function sheet and are allocated tasks. We've built dashboards and reporting that let you manage and review budgets and performance. And we've created a customer portal so they can submit pre-orders, make payments and send messages without having to relay everything over the phone or by email.
Online booking can work. On your terms.
Now really isn't a good time to change anything
Fast forward to now and doing anything more than putting in place the processes to re-open feels like a huge, expensive distraction.
Understood. We don't want to be another headache. So we'll leave it at this. We've built in Covid-19 workflows that pre-register guests, pre-order food, trigger cleaning and send protocol comms to customers into Switch. So we can be part of the current solution too. In a way that provides control and auditability.
And we start from just £25 a month for each space you run.