In the second article in our series of 2021 reopening guidance, we outline what messaging needs to be reviewed ahead of business meetings and events venues reopening and how they can engage with their audience to secure lucrative bookings in the run-up to reopening following the publication of the government’s roadmap for England.?
View our marketing checklist for venues below:
Areas you need to address or update before reopening:
- Compliance: have you updated your policies to reflect changes to VAT rates, government safety guidelines and internal protocols, risk assessments, new capacities, food & beverage restrictions, pre-booking policies, safety accreditations?
- Cancellation policy: is this clearly communicated, flexible and fair?
- Pricing & packages: how will you manage your pricing in line with changes in demand? Ensure you include opportunities for incremental revenue such as add–on packages and experiences. Don’t discount, invest in your marketing.
- Product: how has your product offering changed over the course of the pandemic? Has your audience changed and do you need to work on your repositioning?
- Trends: are you on top of the latest trends within the industry that can provide insight into booking patterns and customer sentiment? Read our event industry predictions.
- Audience: who are you targeting and who CAN you target? The shift from international business to solely domestic customers means continuing to adapt your messaging – is your communications database segmented to deliver the appropriate messages to the appropriate audience?
- Website: do you need to revert key messages back to reflect what is going to be popular right now – i.e. hybrid meetings, work retreats? Which pages are popular and need to be kept in the front-end? Are your COVID-19 compliance and policies easily accessible?
- Searchability: Can people find your website easily? Identify how people find you and build your paid search campaigns to ensure that people find your website easily, accompanied by a strong Google maps listing and inspiring imagery.
- Listings: Are third-party purchasing systems up-to-date and ready to take bookings?
What information do you need to share with your team?
- Share the latest announcement from the Government and the planned roadmap dates, provide an explanation on how this impacts the business and the opportunities ahead.
- Have you re-engaged your team with the necessary training and updates shared through the organisation’s communication channels?
- Confirm the ambition of the business and the positioning. Make sure the team understand how the market may change and the flexibility you will all need to employ.
- Share positive news such as booking trends, the website traffic and social media engagement as well as coverage achieved.
What are the key things you need to let your customers know?
- Tone is key – beware of the power of words and use language to express empathy, safety and security and trust. It is important to reassure event planners that you are following government guidelines without losing your hotel or venue’s personality.
- Photography – update the imagery you are using with spring/summer focus, and ensure imagery reflects government guidelines.
- Highlight exclusive promotions and new/existing experiences to encourage bookings and further revenue.
- Update new accreditations, developments and improvements made over lockdown on third-party listings, social media, website and other marketing channels.
- Highlight accessibility with a focus on scenic walking routes, driving routes and car parking facilities.
- Inspire and excite people by showcasing your destination, location and attractions in the area.
- Share whether you offer accommodation or have a property you are partnered with to ensure you can accommodate multi-day events.
Where do you need to communicate with your customers?
- Make sure all your channels are up to date with the latest information: website, social media, direct marketing, e-comms, advertising, website blogs.
- Update all third-party booking sites and third-party listing sites, such as Google My Business, with any new details or accreditations.
- Customer booking and enquiry journey – ensure you look at all the communications you send to prospective clients and update if necessary. Do you need additional communications to the booker or attendees prior to arrival to detail safety procedures?
- FAQs – create an FAQ page on your website detailing all COVID, booking and general questions to reduce communications with the team. Replicate this on Instagram Stories and save on Instagram Highlights or input it into a chatbot on Facebook Messenger.
When is the best time to get these messages out?
- Think about the competition. Prospects will be inundated with messages surrounding the recent announcement, so while your message needs to stand out from the crowd, it’s equally important that you don’t get lost within a sea of promotional emails currently being delivered.
- Calls to action. You need to decide if you want to push bookings now or encourage visitors to sign up to mailing lists to receive further communications when they can book. The important thing is to be clear about how and when customers can book, and your cancellation policy as well as the channels you will use for late availability.
- Consider your service and what needs to be sold. Are you promoting short-lead bookings or perhaps already looking to secure events for 2022? The perishability of your service will determine the urgency at which different messages need to be delivered.
- Make sure everything is bookable. Update your website with details of how people can make enquiries for future dates, and make sure your cancellation policy is both easily accessible and clear to understand.
- People are more likely to book a meeting or event if they know they can definitely change their booking or get a refund if they are not able to travel or attend due to government restrictions. Reassurance is key.