To have a successful event business, you have to give your customers what they want. It’s simple—as long as you know what people planning events want. Well, we want to help you run a successful event business, so we asked your customers! We surveyed Eventective users to see what their top priorities were before choosing a venue or vendor. According to our survey, seeing a venue’s calendar availability was the second most important feature that people planning events are looking for. That means tools like calendar availability and online booking are critical to your business’s success.
In fact, more than 60% of surveyed planners said that being able to view a venue’s availability calendar was absolutely essential. Another 30% said that it was very important. That tells us that planners don’t want to call or send emails. (Unless they genuinely have a question or want to discuss something with you, of course.) But usually, they want to see if you’re available for their event before initiating contact.
In this post, we’ll cover some benefits of online booking and help you get started on your own website. While online booking may be important to your customers, there are other elements that your website needs to first grab the interest of people planning events. After all, they won’t book if they aren’t confident that you’re the right choice for them! Your website sells the business, and your calendar closes the deal. But before we get there, let’s review the three benefits to online booking.
Booking happens 24/7
With online booking, people planning events can make reservations when it’s convenient for them. They don’t have to worry about calling during business hours, which may conflict with their work or personal schedules. Plus, they’ll never get a busy tone or play telephone tag with your staff to book an event.
This flexibility benefits your business, too. With online booking, you can secure multiple bookings at once—you don’t have customers on hold while you finish up your current conversation. When that happens, your email and phone lines are open for customers who have questions or want to speak with you. Overall, everyone’s time is used more efficiently.
Staff requirements lessen
When your staff is using their time more efficiently, they can focus on getting more work done. This isn’t to overload your employees, but, instead, to redirect their efforts to the areas of your business that need it most. Just like your customers aren’t waiting in a phone queue, your staff isn’t answering the phone queue all day! Now, your staff has more time to focus on other important tasks that can’t be automated.
With this redirected attention, you no longer need to hire more staff—you can use your existing staff. Or, of course, you can still hire more staff and get that much more done! Overall, online booking benefits your staff, which, in turn, benefits your company.
Customers may spend more
And last, but certainly not least, online booking encourages customers to spend more. According to ROLLER, guests who book online tend to spend more money than if they were shopping in person. This is mostly due to the increase in online shopping and booking because of COVID-19 quarantines —but can still apply to venues and other forms of online bookings.
This trend is certainly circumstantial and is likely to dip a little bit once our new normal, post-COVID life begins. But the event industry was already seeing an increase in virtual and online events before COVID-19; the virus just sped up that growth. So, it’s important to put effort into online booking and virtual events now so you’re not behind if this trend sticks around in the long-term.
So how do you reap all these benefits of online booking? You start with a strong website. Customers do their research before booking—online or in person. You’re likely on a short list of event professionals to research before committing to the perfect venue or caterer, so your website is critical. Your website will sell your business and convince your customer to book. (Or call you, if that’s their preference.)
Strong websites include pricing. Pricing is actually the #1 item that planners want to see before booking. This includes pricing packages, price ranges, or flat pricing per head count. There’s no wrong way to list your pricing—just make sure you list it!
You also need to add pictures—and lots of ’em. In our survey, pictures were the #3 thing that people planning events wanted to see. For venues, make sure you highlight unique features and showcase your space with and without events happening. Vendors should highlight their range of services, but only show event types that you want to book. (If you no longer want to do birthday parties, remove birthday parties from your website and portfolio!)
Online booking is important to your customers, so it should be important to you, too. When customers can make reservations from their laptop or phone at any time, they’re likely to spend more money, and your staff saves time. That’s a win all around! Just make sure your website has the other two important features—honest pricing and strong photos—for a booking-worthy customer experience.
Do you currently offer online booking? Which of these benefits appeals to you the most?