What makes event planners book?6 December 2019
The events and venue marketplace is increasingly competitive, so we decided to delve a little deeper into what triggers event planners to book an event at a specific venue. In partnership with venue marketplace platform HireSpace, we undertook in-depth research, conducted by international insight specialist MMR, to address the need for a better understanding of the style of service required from UK venues.
Our research highlighted key drivers for event planning decision making and revealed two distinct mindsets when it comes to booking and expectations.
– The “destination-ers”: This segment of event bookers is generally more mature, with more budget leeway. They are primarily concerned with the end result in terms of delivery and the content and purpose of the event. Pleasing aesthetics and “wow-factors” are key to winning them over.
– The “journey-ers”: This segment of event bookers tend to work for larger companies, who host large-scale events. They face decreasing lead times so efficiency is a priority and place value throughout the event booking process. They need reassurance and support throughout.
Interestingly, “journey-ers” are more likely to use a venue finding websites, whilst our event bookers tend to be more mature “destination-ers”.
So, what do these audience segmentations mean for venue and corporate event organisers? Every venue should consider differentiating their service delivery and customer journey strategy to satisfy both segments. While we found that venue location is a key factor, our customers also place the quality of food and drink, exceptional customer service and venue ambiance top of mind.
A tiered approach to pricing could be beneficial for “destination-ers”. This can be achieved through highlighting what added value is available at different price points, thinking out of the box when it comes to bringing an event to life and thorough detailed food and drink product knowledge.
In contrast, the “journey-ers” have rigid budgets, so an itemised bill approach, where removals and add-ons can give planners more flexibility would work best. Clarity in pricing structure, a seamless and quick turnaround and no surprises are prerequisite.
Event planner frustrations
When it comes to frustrations, the majority of event planners say that additional charges (76%), a lack of flexibility from the venue (48%) and event budget constraints (38%) are their biggest pain points. This is closely followed by a lack of pre-event communication from the venue and a lack of staff knowledge (both 35%), suggesting more training for venue and corporate event organisers is required.
While managing relationships with venues, in-house event planners are also having to deal with pressures from above. Nearly one in four highlighted unreasonable requests from their internal stakeholders as a source of frustration!
MMR Research Director Noreen Kinsey commented, “Improving hospitality knowledge and skills to deliver exceptional results will please the more discerning “destination-ers” while a focus on ensuring events are run effectively and efficiently from start to finish will keep the time pressured “journey-ers” happy.”
Our Head of Learning and Development Daniel Rowlinson added, “The survey has highlighted what we have believed in for a long time – excellent intuitive service based on rigorous training and food and drink knowledge will deliver on high expectations of 21-century event organisers. This ethic has been Searcys’ cornerstone for over 170 years and continues to this day.”