Key Factors Meeting Planners Consider in Booking Venues
Oh the love-hate relationship between meeting planners and venues. While often a necessary component to any corporate program, and one of the elements considered when booking a destination, you’d think booking a venue would be a breeze. But that’s not always the case. Some of the most common complaints are: the inability to reach a live person for quick answers, no clear space dimensions on venue website, hidden fees on items such as, set-up and strike, deliveries and cleaning. The world of meeting and event planning is extremely detailed and busy. Pushing a meeting planner through extra hoops does a huge disservice to a venue, its partners and ultimately a destination. Stop the madness! Here are a few things venues can do to help win a meeting planner’s business.
Capacity and dimensions
A report in the Journal of Convention and Event Tourism found that venue space and meeting room specifics topped the list as the most important factors when booking space. Those are pretty significant points for venues to consider when it comes to collateral, especially their website. Having easily accessible information such as space details, configurations, flow, and capacity is key to the planning process and should be detailed. Adding ample photos of various room set-ups, décor, staging, lighting, and even entertainment are equally important and can go a long way in helping planners envision their program at a particular venue.
It’s rare to find complete venue pricing online, simply because there can be numerous factors that affect the price structure, such as day of the week, group size, and timing. But, a price range or price menu could be extremely helpful to meeting planners especially when most only need an approximate price during the initial planning stages. Venues typically like to provide an exact price structure and with good reason, they want to cover all bases. But be ware, a response time that takes more than 24-48 hours may exclude a venue from making the short list. Meeting planners are rarely looking at one or two venues; their list usually has several options with tight decision deadlines, better to share information quickly – even if it’s a price range than to miss making the list.
Clear cost structure
In the fast-moving, multi-tasking world of meeting planning, simplicity is golden. If the booking process is convoluted, forget it. A simple one-page detailing those items included and not included allows planners to easily see what is necessary and what items they may need to ‘shop’. If A/V is included but only covers a basic sound system and a small riser, then outline the specifics. If delivery and strike is limited to a certain time of day or if a loading dock agent is a venue requirement than list the additional fees. No one likes surprises, especially after the fact. Don’t assume that all meeting planners know to ask questions about possible extra fees, they don’t.
The easier it is for meeting planners to access the information they need to make a decision the more likely a venue is to win the business. Having a current, up-to-date website with comprehensive details and plenty of photos is hugely important. A quick response time or pricing details that can at least give an approximate cost, along with a simple, easy to understand fee structure will not only ease the booking process for meeting planners but it can boost business for venues.
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