April 10, 2020
By Madison Layman

Event planners are no strangers to planning for the unexpected. Crises happen when you least expect them. Budgets change. Venues close. Natural disasters, political unrest, health scares, or any unimaginable act can happen anywhere in the world, causing panic and event cancellations or postponements. Event planners need to be prepared and able to act fast, understand their venue contracts, and track financial implications. That’s why having the right tools in place will allow you to move quickly and pivot as needed.

Venue Sourcing Tools Work for You in a Crisis

When a crisis strikes, it’s critical to be able to look into your events program and identify if your events will be impacted. If you don’t have a central repository for your venue data, you may struggle with knowing where to start. What events are upcoming? Where are they being hosted? Do you cancel, postpone or pivot to virtual? Looking at the who, what, where of your events can help you make the call. One way to assess your event programs and plan for the future is to use venue sourcing tools. While venue sourcing technology typically helps you at the start of the event planning process to help you find your ideal location and send and manage RFPs, it can play a major role in preparing you for unforeseen situations in the future.  

8 Ways to Use Venue Sourcing Technology to Plan for the Unexpected

1.  Identify All Event Locations

Quickly get a snapshot of your organization’s upcoming events during the potential time of impact. As a central hub for event programs and venue data, a venue sourcing tool can quickly identify all upcoming events and where they’re taking place. This will help you to understand the level of impact for each event. Based on the severity of the crisis, where the event is located, and when it was originally scheduled to take place, you can make a decision about how to adapt – postpone, cancel, or transition to virtual.

2. Track Cancelled Space 

If you do have to cancel your event (or move it to a new venue), don’t lose the venue altogether. Check your cancellation clause to see if the venue will issue you a cancellation credit to use at a future date. If you can reuse the space, make sure to keep track of it! A venue sourcing tool will allow you to manage all of your cancelled space in one location, rather than having to check various different sources. And when you go to source your next event, all of your cancelled space credits will show up in your search filters so that you don’t forget about them.

3. Gain Visibility into Your Entire Events Program

If the crisis is wide-reaching or global, visibility into your total meeting and events program is essential. Single event decisions will be simpler to make, and you’ll have a better understanding of the total impact of changes. Each individual change may only cost a few thousand dollars but aggregated across the entire program could add up quickly. Venue sourcing technology allows you to see all of your events and their locations in one centralized system.

4. Manage Your Budget with Historical Data

As budgets tighten during and after a crisis, use historical data to inform future planning. You can use old venue costs as a guide for new budgets. Historical data is easily accessible through venue sourcing tools.

5. Use Cancellation Credits from Cancelled Venues

There’s a chance you’ll be able to acquire credits for the cancelled space and use them in the future. A venue sourcing tool will track your credits in one place, so you don’t let those credits go to waste, whether they are from one of your events or another planner in your organization. When planning your next event, you can start your venue search by filtering search results by which hotels have cancellation credits available.

6. Set Up Standardized T&Cs 

Don’t get caught flat-footed if an unforeseen crisis happens again, make sure you have standard terms and conditions in place to use during the venue sourcing process. These should be reviewed and approved by your legal team so that your events follow your company’s best practices for contracting. Make sure the venue thoroughly reviews and approves before signing a contract.

7. Strengthen Your Relationship with Venues  

In most cases, you’ve built a relationship with various venues. Make sure you’re using those valuable connections by uploading venue and NSO contacts into your venue sourcing tool. When a crisis hits, you can also expect that venues will be slammed in subsequent months when business picks back up. You’ll get a faster and better response with preferred suppliers, hotel, and NSO contacts by copying them on all RFPs you send out.  

8. Ask Questions and Get Answers from Venues

Be more efficient during the RFP process by creating a library of custom questions for venues to answer. By asking venues about cancellation clauses, rebooking, and more ahead of time, you’ll only need to review the answers when a crisis hits.

Cvent Supplier Network Helps You Build a Stronger Events Program

Crises don’t last forever, and what you learn during a crisis can help you build a stronger events program for the future. Venue sourcing technology is more efficient than the other paths to finding a venue because it will prepare you in unforeseen situations for the future. Use these venue sourcing best practices now and in the future to help evolve and accelerate your event program.

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Madison Layman

A graduate of the College of William and Mary, my passion for writing began before I could read, with a nightly verbal diary dictation transcribed by my obliging parents.

When I'm not writing, you can find me binge-watching TV shows, baking elaborate desserts, and memorizing pop culture facts.

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