The corporate event side of event planning can be very lucrative for restaurants and event venues. $280 billion is spent on events and meetings each year in the United States. So how can your business get a bigger piece of the pie?
We spend a lot of time talking to event planners here at Tripleseat, and here are their top tips about what they’re looking for in a venue for corporate events:
1. Venues that match their online searches
Event planners are busy. They’re planning multiple events with long lists of details all at the same time. When they search for corporate event venues, they’re doing it online. In fact, 49% of event planners use the Internet as their primary method of finding a venue.
This means that your venue’s website needs to be found in the places that event planners are searching. Use the keywords that event planners may use in a search, such as your city name, types of events you host, amenities, and menu options so you’re more likely to appear in a Google search. Create a free Google My Business listing—Google highlights business listings on the right side of the search results page if they meet the search terms. Don’t forget about social media, which is often used as a search engine. Create a Facebook page and use those important keywords in your page’s information.
2. Up-to-date information on your website
When your website does come up in a search, make event planners think that they’ve hit the jackpot. Give them all of the information they need to make a decision; don’t make them search. Create a separate page on your website for events and link to it prominently on your homepage. List the types of events you hold at your venue, how many rooms you have, your capacity, your amenities (including audio visual options and wifi availability), and direct contact information for your event staff.
Don’t forget about photos. Event planners want to see the space and get a sense of how their event would fit at your venue. Post photos of the empty space as well as photos of the space being used for multiple types of venues. If your meeting rooms are also great places to hold networking cocktail parties, these images show event planners you can host whatever they need.
3. Direct communication through email
One request we’ve heard loud and clear from corporate event planners is they want to hear from venues via email. One planner told us that her voicemail message is “Don’t leave me a voicemail. Send me an email.” Email is an accessible way for event planners to coordinate with your staff on the go and doesn’t take up as much time as a phone call. As we mentioned earlier, provide a direct email address for your staff. Event planners hate filling out request forms. They want to communicate with an actual person who represents your venue.
4. Some idea of what the contract might look like
You might hesitate to put all of your pricing and options online because you want event planners to contact you for information. That’s OK. When an event planner contacts your venue, send them a basic proposal with some idea of what an event may cost. The numbers and details can be worked out later.
5. Flexible staff
One event planner we spoke to said she looks for staff that can adapt based on the type of event and attendees. She once held a corporate event at a sports venue, where employees casually chatted with each other right next to a table full of executives. Tell event planners what types of events your venue has hosted, and what you and the staff did differently to be flexible and accommodating.
Stand out to event planners
A lot of what we’ve covered here has to do with communication. Get found on an internet search with the keywords event planners are looking for, be clear across your online presence with current information about what your venue offers and contract options, be responsive to event planners via email, and communicate each event’s needs to your staff. These best practices will make your venue stand out and increase your corporate event bookings.