In the final part of The Venue Success Guide, we reveal the final piece of the puzzle to help your venue reach its maximum potential: enquiry tracking.
“Of the 400 venues I’ve worked with, the one trait that all the most profitable venues have in common is they’re tracking their enquiries” says Sascha Michel, co-founder of Canvas. “If you don’t know what enquiries are coming in, you can’t operate at your full potential; it’s as simple as that.”
To the overworked venue manager, enquiry tracking can seem like just another job to add to a very long To Do list, so we asked Sascha to make the task a little less daunting. Here are his five best enquiry tracking hacks:
The first step on your enquiry tracking journey starts with somewhere to store your data. There are a number of tracking programmes and CRM systems to make this easy, but if you’re not ready to jump straight in, even a simple spreadsheet can do the trick.
It’s worthwhile using Google Docs or One Drive to host the spreadsheet to prevent multiple and incomplete versions circulating, especially if it’s going to be used by more than one of your colleagues.
And if you do want your colleagues to use it, you’ll need to keep it simple: if it isn’t easy to use it’s unlikely to be used at all. Label the fields clearly, and align them to your enquiry process and marketing channels.
It’ll be worthwhile using the enquiry information for reporting as well as a simple logging system – more on that later – but the data won’t be much use to you unless it’s complete.
Most venues have more than one person who picks up the emails and calls for enquiries, so it’s really important to make sure everyone knows how to use the system. Don’t forget to train receptionists, new starters and basically anyone who might answer your phone when you’re away from your desk.
Knowing where your leads are coming from can be the difference between understanding which marketing channels are working for you, and which are a waste of your budget.
Make sure you’re keeping track of every enquiry that comes in, whether it’s over the phone or by email. Always ask where they heard about you – they’re likely to say “I saw you on the internet” but a little probing can go a long way. Ask whether they found you via an advert, social media or a Google search.
You need to make it as quick and easy as possible for your potential clients to make a booking with you, and any obstacle they come across will decrease their likelihood of showing you the money.
Ensure the calls come in direct to you or your team instead of through a switchboard, and make sure the email address listed is one that is regularly checked. The general rule of thumb is that all enquiries must be answered within 24 hours, but the faster you’re able to answer an enquiry, the more likely it is to become a firm booking.
You’ve got the tracker set up, everyone knows how to use it and your number of bookings has increased. You’re well on the way to being an expert tracker hacker. Ten points for you!
The next step is to assign a source code to every agent, marketing channel and listing you work with, and then pulling reports together will be a doddle.
Now you’ll be able to monitor your response times in comparison to your conversion rates and see how many more bookings successfully complete when enquiries are answered promptly.
You can also monitor which marketing channels are the most successful for you, allowing you to evaluate the budget spent on Google Pay-Per-Click, SEO and platforms like Canvas. It can provide your big wigs with solid proof of the value of your marketing platforms, all ready for your next big budget sign-off.