Enchantment Resort in Sedona, Arizona. CREDIT: Mark Boisclair Photography, Inc.
Let’s take a glimpse inside the mind of a modern event planner. On any given day, they’re likely consumed with thoughts of budgets, guest lists, event size, space requirements, locations, venue options, amenity requirements, contracts, confirmations and, of course, steadily shrinking timelines. Cue the checklists that never end, and clients’ complete reliance that the meeting, event or party they’ve imagined will come to life in a few weeks’ time. No pressure, right?
Perhaps, contrary to popular belief, event planning isn’t all glitz, glamour and Hollywood-esque parties. Sure, it might be some of that, but mostly it requires a lot of work, meticulous planning and attention to detail, a collaborative approach and a little (or a lot) of help from technology. Rewarding? Absolutely. But the modern event landscape, especially with the continued rise of small meetings and corporate events, provides a long list of demands for event planners and venue spaces alike.
Finding the Perfect Venue
Arguably one of the most important items on that list of demands? The venue. In our world, an event can only exist when a venue has been secured. Oftentimes, the venue will make or break the event, helping to curate the perfect backdrop to the gathering, meeting, celebration or party in question. In the case of a wedding, the bride and groom might have dreamed about their ideal venue space for years, with no detail spared. In the case of a corporate meeting or conference, the venue will play a critical role in ensuring attendees are comfortable, supported, engaged, and leave the event feeling inspired and connected to their company.
In the past, this pivotal step was also a notoriously difficult one. Event planners were tasked with vetting and booking the perfect venue, while hotels and venues were tasked with marketing their space to prospective planners. Supply and demand — sounds pretty simple, right? Well, it wasn’t. Burdened by the limitations of manual processes, the time required to identify, tour and book a potential venue for an event simply took too long, while venues’ sales teams struggled to keep up with RFPs and basic inquiries. Both parties were subject to the arduous process of email catch-up and phone-tag, repetitive questions and a far-too-complicated path to booking. Within a landscape that is oftentimes ruled by tight deadlines, this way of doing things simply wasn’t cutting it for planners or venue spaces.
A Better Way of Doing Things
Fortunately, venue management technology is changing the game. Closing the gap between planners and venues/hotels, management technology acts as an integral central platform to ensure the process of securing a venue is, dare we say it, easy.
Planners: picture a virtual one-stop-shop marketplace. With a few clicks of your mouse, you can find everything you need that relates to a prospective venue. First, you search by location and date. From there, you scan the list of available venues, gauging their aesthetic, capacity details and price. Once you’ve narrowed it down to a few options, you delve a little deeper, taking a 3D virtual tour of the grounds and floor plans, viewing options for customized packages, detailed descriptions of amenities, FAQs and more. The information doesn’t stop there, though. Without having to send a single email-borne RFP, you can generate an instant quote, capitalize on a last-minute booking opportunity, send (and receive a reply to) an automated RFP in minutes, book and pay online. No missed phone calls, no days lost between correspondence — ultimately, no headaches at all. With floor plans, 3D tours, packages, real-time rates and availability all displayed online within a user-friendly platform, booking becomes entirely painless. Those tight deadlines we spoke of? No problem. You’ve got this under control.
From the perspective of the hotel or venue, we realize a similar benefit. Freeing their sales staff from the confines of manual RFP follow-up, each member of the team can better serve prospective clients, answer questions in a timely fashion and provide personalized, attentive service. The function space receives real-time global visibility and the platform can be accessed from anywhere, 24/7. Staff are able to easily manage the sales pipeline and compare budgets to actuals while ditching spreadsheets in favor of instant automated reports and built-in resource management. This ensures space is yielded effectively, and venues can spend time cultivating meaningful, memorable relationships with event planners that encourage future partnerships (and glowing reviews).
Let’s face it, from planning the event itself to managing budgets, getting permits, confirming transportation and catering, booking security and/or entertainment, and ensuring attendees have everything they need, event planners have enough to worry about. Venue management technology makes it easier for event managers to organize great conferences, events and meetings, whilst ensuring hotels and venue spaces can effectively market and yield their space any time of the year. Suddenly, venue management technology becomes the middleman that venues and planners didn’t know they needed, and that middleman is very good at his job. C&IT