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What are meeting planners really looking for?

April 10, 2017 by Sam Slater

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With so many options to choose from for convention centers, theaters, and other event spaces, luring event planners really comes down to two things: presence and convenience. While both may seem like standard procedure for convention centers and other large-scale event venues, it’s impoMeeting Space.jpgrtant to think about how the message is coming across to the event planner. Are they aware of perks that speak to their organization or clientele? How hands-off will their event be once the doors open? How easy it is to find that perfect space and get all of their needs met?

In this post we’re going to take a look inside the minds of event planners and discuss what catches their attention, piques their interest, and makes their job easier. We’ll use the old 2x3 approach: two main points, with three tips for each to help convention centers capitalize and keep bookings coming easier and more frequently than ever before.

Presence

  • Optimize your social channels.
  • Facebook and LinkedIn are the preferred social channels of event organizers. Keep your Facebook page current with all necessary stats, calendars, and contact information. Use LinkedIn to share B2B content and other marketing material and media that will catch the eye of organizers. LinkedIn has done a lot to make their network more engaging, such as notifying users when a page they follow shares an article or makes a key update. As on Facebook, consistent and relevant content is increasingly vital to get people looking at your profile.
  • Also, be sure you are providing all necessary information on your website, including answering basic questions that every event planner is going to ask first thing (whenever possible.)
  • Step up your RFP game.
  • Event planners are busy, and don’t want to go out of their way obtaining proposals from venues. It is important that a convention center utilize eRFP sits like Cvent or Elite Meetings to their full ability by crafting attractive, detail-oriented proposals and delivering them promptly to potential clients.
  • Meeting Planning.jpgIf you’re using a service such as Proposify to directly send proposals to a sales manager or event planner, expand on the basic templates and make them attractive and thorough. Allow e-signatures, make modifications or add-ons simple to insert into the proposal, and keep headlines short and to the point.
  • Conferences and events are about more than handshakes.
  • Maximize your booth space at events by hosting a simple interactive game. Use marketing dollars to obtain banner space at sporting events, festivals, and other places that potential clients will be at. Whenever possible, put a visual image in their mind of what your event space looks like, what you have to offer that no one else does, or why your city is perfect for a certain niche.

Convenience

  • Make sure the event organizer’s questions are answered before the doors open.
  • A last-minute schedule change or snafu in planning can put the organizer in a frenzy just as their event is about to kick off. By making them aware of all options they have available in regards to space, storage, parking, loading, and prep, calling audible can go a lot more smoothly than if he or she has to run and find the correct venue staff to answer their immediate question. A quick follow-up make a big difference.
  • Virtual tours make your venue feel more familiar.
  • Virtual reality can be used to maximize your outreach efforts and give organizers a taste of your venue without them ever having to leave the office. And VR is cool. 
  • Send links to virtual maps via email, as this is the preferred method of contact and allows them to keep the links and information easily on hand.
  • Incentives and Promos Still Work Wonders.
  • What event planner doesn’t appreciate a discount on F&B if they’re bringing 1,000 hungry mouths to your convention center? By targeting promos to specific events, and even highlighting standard incentives offered to any large event, organizers know that you appreciate their business.
  • Food and beverage discounts and comped extra meeting space are big winners with event planners. Perks like this can really increase your odds of landing new events.

Catching the eye of event organizers through catchy social and digital presence, and making their decision as simple as possible once they’ve looked at your venue, is best practice number one for convention centers. You already know what you want to see from them, all it takes a few moments of mental role reversal to gain a much better understanding of what can make your center look that much more attractive.

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