Especially since the economic downturn in 2008, saving money on events and meetings has been one of the most important topics in every industry. One of the first items in any company or organizational budget to receive scrutiny and reduction is, without question, travel and meeting expense. The need to save pennies on the dollar in this area has brought sweeping change to the business of meetings, yet ultimately, even with advances in mobile computing and virtual conferences, there remains a high value on face-to-face encounters. We’ve identified three areas in which the meetings industry generally agrees you can realize savings when planning your corporate or association event. No matter your location or the size of your meeting, we think you’ll benefit from these ideas. Image: Wikimedia

1. It all starts with a budget.

Every event starts with a dream in the mind of its planner. Unfortunately, the dry reality is that every event should start with a budget. Frustration often sets in when trying to force an ideal event into the constraints of a budget that has been established at the beginning of the fiscal year. Here are a few tips to help any organization succeed with a budget:
  • Be sure to inflate older expenses to account for higher prices and add in an additional 10 percent for contingencies
  • Request a discount for paying in cash
  • Be flexible on event dates
  • Limit the number of individuals who can authorize purchases and expenses
  • Stress that your organization is a likely repeat customer

2. The right location means more than you think.

Planners will notice obvious and subtle differences between venues when trying to be budget-conscious. One of the emerging trends in the meetings business is the use of non-traditional facilities for corporate, association, or other types of events. Consider the following:
  • Nonprofit organizations or municipal facilities such as museums or medical centers have meeting spaces available at rates that make them highly competitive
  • Other new players in the market are collaborative workspaces and venues that specifically target smaller meetings and offer state-of-the-art technology
  • Find out from the first conversation what is included versus what is considered extra
  • Check out the entrance and parking facilities, hallways, and other exterior features

3. Control catering costs.

Image courtesy of Travelling Toast Few people planning meetings are experts on the restaurant or catering business. In fact, catering is one of the greatest mysteries that confronts anyone tasked with putting together a successful event and as such, can often end up being very costly.
  • Know what you are allowed to bring in, if anything, versus what you’re required to purchase from the venue
  • Determine if you can supply your own water and coffee
  • Buffets are always cheaper than a sit-down dinner—consider the price of servers, dishes, and clean-up
  • Bar service can be both innovative and cost-conscious with the right choice of vendors and beverages
  • Use fast-casual restaurants or delicatessens rather than fancier, more expensive caterers
eVenues can save you money by helping you to choose the right location. Contact us today to find that perfect venue for your next event.

You want to grow your event space rental revenue, but you’re not sure what you can do to achieve that. We looked at the top performing sites on eVenues and found that they generate up to $15,000 in new revenue per year. What sets them apart? They implement a few simple ideas that help them see their spaces from the eyes of a new customer. Here are some of those ideas that will help you grow your income and enhance your eVenues experience.

1. The right photos can double or triple your bookings

  • Professional pictures of your venue can dramatically increase your bookings. Industry studies have shown that great photos can lead to two to three times more bookings than the market average. Here are some simple guidelines for choosing photos that will help your venue’s profile stand out:
  • Show guests in your pictures. Photos that include people can help customers visualize their meetings and ultimately book the space while also showing that the venue has been rented before. This is a not-so-subtle way of showing your potential customers that you’ve successfully hosted events and can be relied upon to provide the perfect space for their event.
  • Show the entrance and/or the exterior to the meeting room or site. Renters want to know how the venue looks from the outside so that it creates a good first impression. An exterior shot of the entire building, including parking, is advisable, as are shots of the outside of ballrooms or meeting spaces.
  • Make sure that your image is resized to the correct dimensions and is high resolution. If you’re working with a professional photographer, let him know that you would like the original images as well as pictures that are resized for optimal display on both a computer monitor and a mobile device. We suggest that the images be sized to 600 x 377 pixels, ensuring that they display properly and are not automatically resized when uploaded.
  • Show multiple room configurations. Showcase the versatility of your space by providing pictures of varying room configurations during different events. Banquets, birthday parties, seated dinners, buffets, dances, corporate events—plan for images that highlight configurations that you’re planning to market to your potential customers.
  • Avoid timestamps or dated material on pictures. Customers will be wary of images that are dated—either from a timestamp in the corner of the picture or a banner or sign in the background that indicates a year. Even images that are two years old give the impression that details may not be accurate.

2. Consider a virtual tour of your facilities

From something as simple as a panoramic 360º view of your hall to a short guided video visit, a virtual tour speaks directly to your potential customer in ways that static content does not. Virtual tours are a way to connect with renters who have never visited your venue and help get them in the door or make that first phone call or email inquiry. eVenues has multiple options to highlight the unique qualities of your venue, enabling you to customize the way in which you make a first impression with your customers.

3. Prominently link to your eVenues profile from your website

Take full advantage of the services we provide by linking to your eVenues profile in prominent places throughout your own website. The simplicity and convenience of letting us manage the booking process will save you considerable time, and the “Book it now!” and “Book this space” banners we provide are eye-catching and lend a professional touch. To link your eVenues profile to your website: First click the Venue Manager dashboard. Go to the top menu and select “Rooms” in the menu bar. Then click “Link Banner.” You’ll then see a variety of banners to choose from as well as the HTML code needed to put the banner on your site.

4. Encourage your customers to provide reviews

“Your service is invaluable for a small venue like mine – not only did you drive new business, but you helped me find a long-term renter for my space. I can’t imagine why all venues don’t use eVenues!” – Ed Freeman, Ed Freeman Gallery, Los Angeles In the age of Yelp and social media, studies indicate that reviews provide significant motivation to customers. We provide a simple means for your satisfied customers to review your venue, but we also encourage you to ask them to submit reports to other online review sites or through any of their social media accounts. According to a major e-commerce site, 80 percent of their customer reviews are 4 out of 5 stars or more, meaning that most people who take the time to review goods or services offer positive reports. Other data shows that reviews have the potential to double or even triple online purchase rates. All you have to do is access your Venue Manager dashboard and then click “Manage your space” in the top right corner. Then click “Venues” and select “Reviews” from the drop-down menu. Once you’re there, click “Get reviews” on the left. You should this dialog box pop up below: Type in the email address of the customer who rented your venue and add a short note if you like. The customer will receive an email like this: Once the customer clicks the link, he or she will be directed to a simple review form (below). The great thing about this is that there is no login or signup required!

5. Responsiveness = Results

From choosing the right organizational contact to setting up mobile notifications, eVenues helps you ensure that you’re always in touch with potential customers. A quick response to an inquiry is often the difference between booking your venue or having someone move on to the next available site. We offer you the tools that will bring you in constant contact with renters so you can make a powerful first impression on new clients. Chances are that renting your facilities is not your main business. However, it’s also a significant portion of your revenue stream, so you want to be prepared to provide excellent customer service no matter the situation. We suggest that you have more than one individual who receives inbound requests about your venue, with a clear plan for response including a minimum time to reply. You can define the protocol for booking as best suits your organization, but please feel free to contact eVenues if you have any questions. We also offer you the ability to receive SMS messages to your mobile device when someone has a booking request. Setup for this service is easy. After logging in to eVenues, go to your Venue Manager dashboard. Choose the “Edit” option from the “Venue” menu. From there, scroll down to the bottom of the Venue profile, enter the cell phone number at which you would like to receive SMS alerts, and check the box below the field: