Venue managers face stiff competition when it comes to securing new event business. Winning return clients isn't easy either — even when organizers have repeated locations for years on end. The reality is that expectations of event planners and attendees are evolving rapidly. For many venues, loyalty to a location or a brand is no longer enough to keep clients coming back.
Earning repeat business and referrals to new clients requires something else: a reputation for the venue being an ideal partner to event planners. The best events result from collaborative, productive partnerships between event planners and the hospitality professionals they choose to work with. Regardless of event size or scope, successful partnerships tend to have five core components in common.
Discover the five keys to successful event partnerships:
1. Location alignment is critical to event partnerships.
Nearly half (49%) of event planners say they plan to host more events in 2019 than 2018. Closing those contracts starts with finding the right fit for your venue in the market. Failed event partnerships sometimes start with false advertising. An eagerness to win clients may motivate venue managers to overstate capabilities or overpromise on resource availability (for things such as food and drink service, audiovisual assistance, check-in help, or onsite coordination). Integrity is at the core of every successful partnership, so venues must market their offerings appropriately. Locations should always be a fit for the event size, attendee expectations, market demographics, and the capabilities needed to pull off the show. And if an organizer needs extra hands that the venue can't spare, being straightforward about that will help ensure the event budget is allocated appropriately to cover all necessary resources.
2. A clear 'why' makes for better event partnerships.
Every event exists for a reason. And venue managers should respect that reason as more than “just" an opportunity for the property to win business. Understanding an event's point and purpose is one aspect of defining location alignment and audience fit. But when it comes to partnering with an event planner, the significance goes deeper than that.
Organizers judge event planners on their ability to satisfy an event's point or objective (such as a fundraising goal or membership increase) and support the organization's larger purpose or mission. When venue managers understand the “why" behind events — and collaborate closely with planners to ensure they deliver on it — their partnerships are more likely to succeed.
3. Quality content makes for the best event partnerships.
A high-quality, right-fit location and meaningful purpose help make an event memorable. But ultimately, it's the experience itself that attendees keep with them long after they leave. Quality content and immersive experiences can transform an event from kind of memorable to (potentially) unforgettable. Entertaining attendees is one approach: 43% of planners in Cvent's 2018 Global Planner Sourcing Report cited live music and entertainment as their top strategy for building memorable experiences. But quality experiences aren't exclusive to large-scale things like concerts and keynotes. Small-group workshops and meetups have unique content considerations, too.
Organizers and planners typically have clear ideas about what information or opportunities they want to share with attendees. Venue managers should invest in understanding what those are, why they matter, and what makes them meaningful to participants. Those insights boost the likelihood that attendees walk away wowed by the experience.
4. Tech that augments is great for partnerships.
Earning “wows" from a crowd can have a lot to do with technology. Events are getting more and more digital every day — with things such as mobile-app agendas, social media integrations, and live-streamed video becoming practically commonplace. Of course, we've all been to events where technology tends to distract from the content. IT issues and audiovisual problems can happen at even the most well-planned events, for example, but they disrupt audience members out of otherwise immersive experiences.
Successful events use technology to enhance the experience, rather than detract from it. Studies show that event technology adoption can increase attendance by 20%, increase productivity by 27%, and decrease costs by as much as 30%. Venue managers should help planners find the right balance and aim to execute on the organizers' vision in a manner that leaves attendees with a lasting, positive impression.
5. Post-event engagement is critical to partnerships.
The best events don't end when the onsite part is over — they create momentum that continues. Effective organizers and planners craft follow-up strategies to keep attendees engaged (and active in the event's “why") well after they leave the venue. Event partnerships shouldn't end when the curtain comes down, either.
It's important for hospitality professionals to nurture their relationships with planners. Showing a sincere interest in how attendees enjoyed the event and how well the organizers' objectives were met helps solidify a partnership. From there, it's about keeping the lines of communication open and earning a reputation for consistent excellence.
Build better event partnerships today
Becoming known for hosting collaborative, productive events is what helps a venue win valuable business again and again. For more on partnering with event planners, download our eBook What Makes An Event? 7 Things Every Hospitality Professional Should Know. Up next, learn more about creating the best event themes.