The saturated Conference venue market requires MICE hospitality teams to have the right marketing strategies in place to ensure a reliable flow of bookings and healthy pipeline. Events are about so much more than just the space they take place in and each client feels their objective is completely unique. Keep customers wanting to come back and delegates talking about the event long after it has been and gone.
Be clear on your target audience and what they are looking for.
- Is your Offer presented entirely from the client’s perspective and user experience?
- Do you have a niche specialism that plays to your venue’s strengths? The more focused your offer, the better your SEO can be to ensure you don’t get lost online.
- Are you focusing on engaging with existing customers to build loyalty, repeat business and advocacy?
- How good and up to date is your customer data?
Position yourself as an expert and trusted partner
- Make your brand proposition clear, relevant and distinct. Don’t let your venue fall at the shortlisting hurdle when the event planner moves from initial research to more careful consideration.
- Underline your competitiveness through added value and the reassurance of a hassle-free, seamless end-to-end experience
- Embrace technology innovation (e.g. Chatbots, Operational and Guest Apps, integrated Booking Automation, 5G connectivity), emphasise amenity benefits and your creative, flexible F&B capability.
Showcase your venue with marketing assets that set you apart.
- The digital space plays a critical role in planners’ influencing decisions when shortlisting MICE venues.
- High quality creative materials – photography, video, arial imagery, 360° and virtual tours, to interactive layout settings and downloadable, customisable brochures are all critical assets to support your Conference Event marketing activity.
- Are you regularly updating them to keep your content fresh?
- Inspire vision of its transformation potential. Document event productions from blank canvas to end realisation through photography, time-lapse, blog and social content posts and ensure each event’s possibilities are seen from the client’s eyes.
Make sure your venue is easily found online
- Do you have all the right website tools and digital marketing strategies in place to ensure a high visibility search ranking?
- Is your content marketing strategy effective in driving traffic to your site?
- When visitors land on your website, ensure their experience is simple and easy to navigate, packed with relevant content to encourage the conversion of enquiries into confirmed bookings.
- How effective is your SEO and website analytics? Are you clear on the range of search terms your audience are using? Is your website fully optimised to achieve good organic ranking in Search results? Do you know which landing pages are delivering the most impact?
Stand out in Local Search results with Paid Ads
- An essential aspect of your conference venue marketing plan is investing in pay-per-click (PPC) advertising. It’s the only way to guarantee cut-through in the highly competitive market of Local Search
- Put your rivals in the shade and emphasise your venue’s credibility and authority in a highly targeted, cost-efficient space.
Maintain a planned and active social media presence
- Before you dive into a snowstorm of social post activity, prepare a quarterly content plan for the year. Ensure your social communication themes fully align with your overall content marketing strategy and business objectives, mapping out tactical opportunities and seasonal events, e.g. London’s staging of the Euro 2020 championships this summer.
- Post regularly on your channels and engage with your audience through shared website blogs & curated relevant content.
- Supplement posts with targeted PPC campaigns on Facebook and LinkedIn to forensically target your prospects, drive website traffic, increase brand awareness and boost your social following.
- Don’t leave it all to text: create compelling video content including pieces to camera to accelerate engagement.
- Building trust, credibility and rapport with your ideal clients requires commitment over time, but it is a proven tactic that drives traffic and enquiries. Do you maintain a proactive dialogue with previous clients to ensure you are front of mind for their next event consideration?
- Celebrate event successes, share expert tips and showcase venue capabilities through a thoughtfully constructed social media content calendar. Customise posts and images to reflect the relevance, tone and content expectation of each platform.
- Encourage event participants to share their experiences online in the post-event buzz.
Optimise calendar peaks & troughs with tactical marketing activity
- Promote your venue to planners organising events for the awards, trade events and party seasons. Business in quieter periods can be encouraged with promotional discounts and incentives.
Initiate local marketing partnerships
- Your conference venue marketing strategy needs to stretch beyond digital activities.
- Form collaborative alliances and shared initiatives with compatible and aligned local travel and tourist partners, as well as engaging with trade organisations or specialised industry sectors your region may be known for.
Use your customer data to tailor an informed offer
- Incentivise and encourage Client and Attendee feedback; enable technology to make it easy for comments to be shared through an App, Text or other simple route.
- Use surveys to determine what attendees want from a Conference and Events venue and how you can create a better experience next time.
- All present opportunities to acquire valuable customer insight and ensure each new event proposal is personalised and on point.
Don’t underestimate the value of e-mail marketing.
- It’s a channel that can deliver an exceptional ROI, if you nurture a solid email marketing list and you segment your database to personalise your message.
- Sift through previous open rates and run re-engagement campaigns to win back disengaged subscribers.
- Grow your list with a branding campaign, emphasising your trusted authority and expertise in conferences and events to drive new enquiries.
- Exploit your digital marketing image bank and bring your emails easily to life through repurposable design templates.
- And of course, track and assess your open and click-through rates.
If you’re looking to review or develop your MICE / conference venue marketing strategies, why not have a conversation with us and see how we can help.
At ZOO, we exist to help clients deliver added value, brand differentiation and competitive cut-through. Our 20-year hotel marketing experience ranges from independent boutique hotels to larger, global chains.
We retain the same passion for every new hospitality brief, harnessing the power of our digital marketing expertise, branding strategy experience and creative storytelling to boost traffic, generate enquiries, grow brand awareness and most of all, keep a relentless focus on ROI.