It’s the time of year when everyone’s scrambling to book a venue for their Christmas do. If you still have availability, it’s important to move fast to secure those bookings for your business – so follow these event marketing tips to guarantee a busy and prosperous Christmas season.
Christmas seems to begin earlier every year – and when promoting your venue, that can mean getting the marketing activity started when most people are still on their summer holidays.
At this stage you’ll need to create a good marketing strategy to make the most of location’s potential. Look at the previous year’s Christmas events and brainstorm ways to make this year even better. By planning in detail at this early stage, you’ll be able to secure more bookings and make more profit at this critical time of year for your business.
Use your contacts
If you have a little black book of satisfied customers from past events, this is a great place to start. Be proactive and let them know your venue is available again – perhaps with a discount for loyal customers, or another incentive to entice them back again.
Whether or not they make a repeat booking, make sure you ask happy clients for a testimonial about your venue and what makes it such a fantastic venue for Christmas events and parties. This can be a very persuasive way to promote your site to new clients.
Know your target audience
You may have traditionally hired out your venue for corporate parties or community events, but who’s to say they are the only groups who will be interested in what you have to offer? If you’re not getting enough bookings from your usual client base, it may be time to diversify. Think about other groups who might benefit from your venue’s location, facilities and ambience. (Of course, after due consideration you might decide that your current target audience is just right – if it ‘ain’t broke’, there may be no need to fix it!)
Once you know who you’re targeting, create promotional materials that meet their needs: for a family audience, for example, let them know about your baby changing facilities and child-friendly menu. Whoever you’re marketing to, offer lots of practical information about the process of booking your venue. Things like costs, capacity, facilities and optional extras should all be easy to check out on your website and in your brochures, without the need for a phone call.
Offer something different
It might be the amazing view, the city centre location or your delicious selection of canapes. Whatever you offer, your venue needs to have something that sets it apart from the competition; an edge that persuades people to pick you over the rest. You don’t need to be all things to all people, but it’s good to know your strengths and play to them.
- If you offer catering as well as venue hire, your menu could make a difference. Perhaps you could offer a vegan or gluten-free Christmas dinner.
- Get the season started early by hiring out your venue to teachers offering workshops and courses on Christmas cookery, decoration making or wine tasting.
- Free stuff is always irresistible. Whether that’s a bottle of bubbly or something more unusual, the freebies you offer could just swing it if they’re tempting enough.
Style it right
The look and feel of your venue can make a big difference to its saleability. With your target audience in mind, decide whether you’re offering a cosy fireside atmosphere, or something a little more modern and edgy. Whatever your décor decisions, hiring the right furniture is an easy way to make a design statement, and it means your venue can be really flexible, with a change of furniture transforming the whole look and feel of the place to suit each event.
Once you’ve got the place looking festive, it’s time to showcase it in all your marketing materials. A picture can do the work of a thousand words, and people’s eyes will be drawn to high-quality images, so it’s worth investing in a professional photographer. If you don’t have any images from last Christmas, be sure to take some during this year’s festivities for future marketing purposes. For potential customers who haven’t been there before, a video showing the interior and exterior of your venue can be really useful, offering a unique insight into the character and capacity of your property.
Consider going through a venue agency
If you find it difficult market your venue or you simply don’t have the time and resources in-house, a venue finding agency could be the answer. As the name suggests, these agencies exist to match event organisers with suitable venues. By supplying them with all the relevant information (and, of course, a fee), you’ll have someone to do the hard work for you to secure Christmas clients for your premises.
Think outside the box
Christmas is limited to a small but ever-expanding timeframe with parties usually taking place throughout December until Christmas Day itself; New Year’s Eve is another peak in demand. If you have availability outside these busy times, devote some energy to marketing your venue to fit these slots. Try offering post-Christmas party packages in January; these could focus on making ‘dry January’ and ‘veganuary’ fun, or help people to keep their New Year’s Resolutions by learning a new skill or networking.
Alternatively, you could increase your capacity by utilising unused space. Winter is a tricky time for outdoor events, but if you have space for a marquee in your grounds, you could be missing a trick if you’re not already hiring it out. Hire patio heaters and some stylish marquee furniture, and your outdoor space will provide just as much comfort as your indoor rooms.