Understanding the wants and needs of event planners and coordinators will give you a leg up on knowing how to market to them, and that can mean a huge boost in revenue. Whether you run a massive conference center or you operate a small venue that hosts niche events, learning how to market a venue to event planners should be a main business priority.
Implementing various marketing strategies will not only help you gain the attention of small local businesses, but can also attract corporate event planners who tend to have a bigger budget and host events more consistently. In today’s blog, we’ll show you how to market a venue to event planners, get more leads and exposure, and boost your bottom line.
Directories are usually the beginning of an event planner’s journey, so it’s a great place to start when thinking about how to market your venue to event planners. Directories can range from the local to national level so know what your property is best catered to and get listed on those websites. Many listings are free but some will require a fee. Also, not all directories are built the same. Some definitely have way more SEO juice and getting a ‘do-follow’ backlink from them will also boost your property’s website SEO and that all helps with visibility on Google. ‘Ahrefs’ is a great tool to find out what sites and directories are highly credible. Ideally, you want to be listed on those with a high domain ranking.
Network like a champ
One great way to connect with corporate event planners is to do so through the local chamber of commerce. Networking is a huge part of marketing and the success of your venue so take advantage of the chamber of commerce connections by partnering up with them to host a happy hour or event at your property. Think about other conventions and visitors bureaus in your area to see if they’d be open to co-hosting an event at your venue. Cross-promoting these events brings more business to the board overall.
Another great networking tool? Linkedin. Linkedin is your best friend when it comes to networking digitally these days. Get to know the planners in the organizations you want to do business with. Start with a friendly connect and message explaining who you are and why you want to connect. This is a great beginning place. Many partnerships and business relationships start as a connection, and a like or comment here or there. Keep on top of your feed as business opportunities cand present themselves in the form of a post or content, and then reach out to that connection. Because you’re already connected and they are familiar with you and your brand, it gives you the leg up on winning this business.
Build your online presence
Now with millennials as the highest paying segment and Gen Z close behind them, it’s essential to make sure your venue has a strong online brand and presence. Leverage the power of social media to help increase awareness and visibility. Chances are, event planners are checking to see if you have Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Linkedin and Youtube for additional data and resources to help make their decision. People are visual consumers. More photos, videos and tags will build up your online community. Think: what makes my venue special? Emphasize it. Start a hashtag for all your loyal guests to tag every time they visit. It’s free marketing. Check our dedicated blog here for more ways to optimize your property’s social media.
Position yourself appropriately
Building a strong reputation for your venue and brand builds credibility and interest among event planners. The stronger your reputation is, the more likely you will be able to book events. Utilize your social media as mentioned previously and create valuable content that poises you as an industry thought leader. Include relevant industry information, insights, and happy customer testimonials and videos. Remember to engage with people in the comment section – this says that not only do you have an opinion, but you value others opinions as well. Also, think about hosting or presenting at industry conferences and offer event planners a chance to learn and engage with you through education opportunities.
Location, location, location!
What is usually the top criteria of a corporate event planner’s decision where to host an event? Location! Make it easy for event planners to know where you are located – that’s your main advantage, after all. Your location should be front and center and super obvious. You should think about your SEO when it comes to location and try to pinpoint those keywords for your venue. Make sure your photos are HD and emphasize why your property is so great in that specific location. Lastly, include nearby attractions and points of interest and any partnerships/ or promotions with local businesses. These can be tipping points for event planners when they’re making their final decisions.
Knowing where event planners begin their search and what they tend to look for will show you how to market a venue to event planners. However, not all venues are the same and what makes one event planner choose you over the other can be very different. As a last tip, after you’ve held some successful events and have built that rapport with event planners – simply asking: “What made you choose our venue over a competitor?” will give you huge insight on exactly why and what helped them make that decision. This will give you even more resources to be able to book more events in the future.