As we all continue to operate in whatever fashion is possible during the current lockdown, our time is now focused more and more on what comes next, and what it might mean for our future market.
For the first several weeks of the shelter-in-place, our daily tasks primarily consisted of dealing with requests to move or cancel previously scheduled events. As with any new activity, there was a learning curve on our part. We were not as effective as we would have liked initially speaking to our clients to address and resolve their issues while mitigating the negative results for us as a company. Over time, we have learned how to better respond and react to help minimize stress to our clients, the sites we work at, the vendors we work with and within our own organization.
As this is being written, we continue to not have reliable forecasting methods indicating what the near future will look like, and as a result, we are unsure how to reposition what we do with any degree of certainty.
While focus is often an attribute that is used to describe one of the key ingredients to success, in this case, we are viewing focus as a detriment. Our reason for this is, as we said, we do not know what the future holds, so at this point it appears that rather than trying to predict it, we might be smarter to prepare for the variations that seem most probable.
As our core market has been weddings in wine country, and the historical methods of selecting venues, vendors, and planning their event are no longer possible for couples, we are pivoting to offer several alternative ways in which to move through the process.
Specifically, we now are looking at how we can provide a shopping experience for clients who:
We are making this list is as long as we can make it, and we are producing as many services and marketing tools that can attempt to accommodate these scenarios. We do not know which ones will resonate, but we know the more options we have, the better we will be able to pick up our share of the business that comes back, when it comes back.
Most people have more time to talk right now. Make your employees your voice and encourage clients and prospects to call.
But do not let that be the focus of the conversation – solutions ultimately feel better than sympathy.
But do not make it about you, or make it look like you are mortally wounded.
Clients have it tough, needing to make multiple connections to unwind or move an event – create a way they can do it more efficiently.
When you say you will, with clients. They have many concerns about how their event is being impacted, do not make it more stressful by going silent.
Currently, some venue sites are cold, the fortunate ones are lukewarm. Over the past six weeks we have seen business drop to zero and now we are seeing it beginning to sprout back again. This is possible by having worked throughout this period to build a backlog of optimists.
There are always consumers that are early adopters, and in this case, there are those out there that view this as an opportunity to get the site, or date they want, while everyone else is holding back.
This has translated into site deposits in excess of $60,000, which while nowhere near what the business should be generating, sure beats $6.00.
Find the optimists, find a value proposition that works for them, be less worse off.
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Matt is a Sonoma County native. He has worked on the production side of events for over two decades. From bartending, to catering to event planning, Matt has done it all. He co-owned one of Marin County’s premier catering and event planning companies for many years. Matt is passionate about sharing our beautiful wine country and helping to create exceptionally memorable events. When he is not working you can find him mountain biking at Annadel State Park or Skiing in Tahoe, or maybe relaxing at a brewpub after a good trail run. Cheers!