Venue Booking Systems and User Experience
When you stop to consider the number of events, functions, meetings and conferences going on every day, the length and breadth of the UK, you realise that venue hire is a big deal.
And, with an events industry that’s worth more than £39b annually* to the UK economy, it’s also big business.
Enhancing Revenue, Brand and Awareness
Not only can facility, room and venue bookings be a major revenue stream for organisations, it can also deliver additional benefits to brand; raising the profile of a location and encouraging wider engagement. Think of museums who rent their venue for weddings and similar functions, benefiting both from the revenue from the booking, but also from the potential new visitors who might be encouraged enough to return and tour the exhibits at a later date.
Of course, in such a potentially lucrative market, it goes without saying that competition for custom can be fierce; the challenge for each establishment being to ensure that event organisations choose you rather than the ‘venue down the road’.
Positive User Experience encourages repeat bookings and customers happy to return to your venue.
The quality and suitability of the facility will naturally play a role in this decision-making, as will price or budget. However, whether the booking is for work, social, or leisure activity, providing exceptional user experience across every step of the journey – from search, selection and booking, to the actual event itself – can be a crucial factor in clients choosing your venue over another.
So what role does your venue booking system play in this generation of positive UX?
It’s too simplistic to consider your venue booking system as simply a means to let your customers reserve their date and time. A modern booking platform should offer so much more, providing tools that can enhance the customer experience throughout their interaction with you.
The decision to book a particular venue can be a complex one. Clients will often need to view the facility to get an understanding of whether it’s suitable or not.
Can your venue or room booking system help arrange a viewing, taking details about client needs so that the viewing can be tailored to meet those needs?
Personalising the booking journey from the outset can remove the sense that a client is getting a generic sales pitch, that you value what they want and aim to deliver the venue to meet their requirements.
A Multi-Channel Journey
We may want all of our clients to view and book online, or in person, or by the phone. The reality is that, often, it will be a combination of them all that’s required before a decision is made.
Again, your venue booking system can hold the key to delivering exceptional UX.
You need to provide a seamless booking process that can be made via mobile, laptop, desktop, tablet, or over the phone, where all information and booking details are captured and logged into one system.
Ensuring that it’s easy for the customer, and efficiently managed in the back office.
Communication and Automation
Positive communication with your clients, and keeping them informed throughout the booking journey, and post-event, increases engagement and enhances the relationship between venue hirer and customer; both now and in the future.
While organisations will be aware of the value of good lines of communication with clients, the issue is often the time that it takes to accomplish. Manually compiling emails to confirm a booking, for instance, can eat into your staff’s time.
A modern, multi-platform venue booking system, on the other hand should have the capability to deliver automated communication with the client, of a kind that retains the personalised touch – i.e. not some blatantly robotic response.
Personalised automated emails can inform the client of their booking, send reminders of bookings coming up, and send thank you notices or feedback surveys after the booking – maintaining the engagement and the relationship, without administrative burden.
Venue hire can be a profitable operation for your facility. Get it right, and it can be a sound and regular revenue stream. However, the market is competitive, and your venue needs to ensure it has an edge over the rivals.
Ensuring the facility is maintained to the highest standards goes without saying, of course. But of equal value in the modern world is delivering an exceptional customer experience. An easy booking journey, accessible as the client would want it, while encouraging positive engagement, communication and service, can go a long way to securing a full diary at the venue, and a healthy level of repeat custom.
For more information on how thinkBooker can improve the user experience of your venue booking process, please give us a call or get in touch through our enquiry form.