Emerging from lockdown and dealing with a surge of event enquiries

There’s no denying that Covid-19 has had a significant impact on all aspects of our lives and the economy.

It turned the hospitality sector as we know it upside down and changed the way we socialise – with bars, restaurants, clubs, hotels, and other leisure facilities forced to close their doors and adapt to new restrictions.

However, with the majority of restrictions now lifted, we can all start to look forward to returning to some sense of normality, safely. Dancing again, enjoying a weekend of fun with our favourite people, and even just popping to the local pub for a Sunday afternoon pint – they’re all thing’s we’ll never take for granted again.

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In recent months, the hospitality sector has been in recovery mode and, as public confidence increases and more people get vaccinated, hospitality venues up and down the country are reporting a stark rise in bookings and event enquires.

And, although this influx of bookings is fantastic news for venues, knowing how to deal with this level of event enquiries can become overwhelming!

But don’t panic – we’ve put together a guide to dealing with a surge of event enquiries following reopening.

 

1. Prepare your marketing strategy 

When developing your recovery plan, it’s important to carefully prepare a marketing strategy. We’ve never had to deal with the aftermath of a global pandemic before, so chances are your existing strategy won’t cut it.

That means thinking about your direct booking capacity, new offers, and packages to entice customers, as well as developing a flexible cancellation policy to ensure customers feel confident making a booking. 

 

2. Don’t compromise on quality

You need to be able to accommodate this new level of demand without compromising on the quality of service that you provide. So don’t bite off more than you can chew just because you don’t want to say no to a booking – this could potentially ruin your reputation and set you back further!

And it’s not just about the quality of service on the night. It’s also about replying to any enquires quickly and making your customers feel appreciated and welcome from the moment they get in touch. This is super important – so much so that, at Canvas, we highlight quickly responding venues so customers know they can expect a fast response to their query.

 3. Communication 

If normal service has resumed at your venue, it’s important that you shout about it and tell people what they can expect so they don’t overwhelm your phone lines and emails with any questions they might have.

Make sure you should update your website, Canvas listing, and social media platforms, announcing that you are back open and accepting bookings, and direct visitors to the booking information they need to put their minds at ease.

You’ll need to address any cancellation policies, as well as any precautions that you are taking to keep people safe! This will help to keep enquiries to a minimum so that you can concentrate on managing bookings and delivering a high standard of service.

4. Increase manpower

Although recruitment is an issue throughout the hospitality sector, increasing your manpower to handle an influx of new customers will not only help you to optimise capacity but it will also allow you to maximise performance and ensure your customers have the best possible experience.

5. Implement a direct booking system

Implementing a direct booking system is a great way to help you manage bookings more effectively, compared to relying on a pen to paper system.

A direct booking system will not only display direct bookings, but it will also recover lost bookings too – providing a more streamlined and efficient system that is easier to manage.

To encourage customers to book in this way, you could also implement an instant reward feature so that visitors can enter their email to unlock exclusive rates and continue to market to potential guests once the email is captured.

6. Always be honest

When it comes to managing bookings, always be honest and upfront. If you don’t have the capacity to accommodate the level of bookings you are receiving, don’t commit to them.

There’s nothing worse than your customers having to settle for a different level of service because you are overbooked. If you say no, they’ll probably try and book another time. But if you say yes and mess it up, they’re not likely to give you another chance.

Finally, take each day as it comes and don’t let the stress of restricting lifting overwhelm you. It’s been a rocky road for everyone, but you’ve got this! Enjoy the hustle and bustle again! The sound of laughter. Smiling faces and people having a good time.

Ready to open those floodgates and start getting even more enquiries? List your venue on Canvas now!

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