How do venues and locations avoid the New Year slump
We all know that January and February are most venues’ and other locations’ “dump months”. They are slower in business than usual, and the reasons are beyond obvious. Christmas has taken away a lot of the budget, the weather is too uncertain for a wedding or outdoor event, and it’s still a while until the next big holiday.
So how can venues and locations keep their calendars busy during these months? Some manage to do it quite well, so there is definitely still some business going around and there is no reason why you shouldn’t be getting your hands on some of it. We have decided to look into the most common tactics that you can use to ensure that you do, and below are our favourites.
Deals and offers
Lowering the hiring fees seems to be one of the most common tactics. Most venues and locations will be doing this, and they will definitely be stealing potential customers from you if you don’t catch up, so be competitive.
Go even further and offer lower deposits and cut down on any fees you can afford to cut down. For example, some venues add an extra charge to black out their space, or to clean-up after an event. If these are things that you already have in house and do not have to outsource for, then give them away as freebies!
We already know that this time of the year is going to come, whether we like it or not. And that is our biggest advantage, knowing. Start thinking about what you can do to beat the slump early, devise a plan, and execute it.
Every time you speak with a customer, it’s an opportunity to promote your deals and offers. When you can’t accommodate for an event or shoot, don’t be shy to mention that you have availability in January and rates are lower – you never know when they might have a new brief, or who they might talk to. Word of mouth still goes a long way!
Offer a new service or product
This is a great opportunity to sell your location and make it stand out in a crowd. People love to get excited about new things, and what better time to do it other than the New Year. By introducing a new service or product early, it allows your customers to spread the word and by the time the busy period comes again, you will be an expert at it and a lot more people will be aware of the offering.
If you are a restaurant and do not do dry-hire, announcing a new special menu may be all it takes. If you are blank canvas space, perhaps new in-house cutting edge AV equipment can help convert a few extra enquiries into bookings.
Thank your most loyal customers
A large chunk of a location’s revenue comes from repeat business, so why not thank them and strengthen these relationships even more? Throw a party at your own location, and invite exclusive clients only. Make them feel special and remind them of your current offerings.
There is probably not a lot of money to be thrown around after the holidays, so keep it simple and be creative! Parties do not always have to involve drinks and loud music… Create a theme that resonates with you, your location, and will probably interest your clients.
Take control of your Social Media
Yes, the good old Social Media. It is a very well-known fact that Social Media plays an important role in nearly every business out there today (and if it doesn’t, we recommend that they reconsider).
However, did you know that only about 10%-12% of your posts are actually seen by your followers on Facebook? This is actually controlled and manipulated by Facebook itself, due to competitiveness and demand for posts.
So you can either pay to have every single post promoted, a feature that Twitter has also introduced recently, or be clever about it. Analyse each post and check the peak interaction times, and refine your content – what are you normally attracted to read when you scroll through your news feed?
Create interactive posts that encourage people to comment, click and like. This will then make sure that the users see more of your posts.
Don’t forget that Social Media is one of the cheapest forms of advertising, so use it to share your offers and deals. Send out newsletters and write blogs and share them with your followers.
Improve your customer service and increase conversion rates
Be extra flexible, smile a lot and make people feel at home even from that first phone call. You do not want to miss an opportunity to convert an enquiry into a booking, so make sure you are hot on your phone and respond to your e-mails straight away.
Also, look at how you currently promote your venue and the channels that you use. Are they producing the type and quality of leads that you want? How accountable are they? Can you justify your spending? Check the percentage of quality leads vs. unwanted enquiries and thinking about a way you can reduce the latter.
Make sure you spend enough time and give enough attention to potential customers and repeat business, even if you cannot accommodate for their event or shoot at the time. These are customers that you want to cultivate and entice to come back at a later date.