Last month we reviewed how 15 event bookings generate the profit equivalent of selling an incremental $1,000,000 worth of wine. Assuming you would like to produce those 15 events, the next logical question is, “What do we have to do to accomplish this?”
The key to achieving sales success is having a realistic understanding of what is necessary to complete your goal. After five years of focusing on event bookings as our primary business and refining every touchpoint for maximum productivity, we have been able to establish the following ratios which you might want to use as an initial benchmark.
To summarize the above data, it will take 600-5,400 visitors to your website, to generate 12-60 inquiries which would result in the 4-10 site tours to generate one booking. This data indicates there is a great deal of variability between high and low performing sites as well as the need to understand if your website is receiving enough traffic to support these volume levels.
Selling events in today’s marketplace is a distance sale, and your success is highly dependent on the quality of your Internet presence. The best-performing sites have a history of successful events, with an exceptional photo gallery and accompanying 5-star reviews.
High performing sites spend the marketing dollars to appear to be a “glamour” site and continuously update their website as more positive material (reviews or newer photos) becomes available.
Lower performing sites tend to lack these characteristics, and as a result, while clients may not say anything, they feel it, and understand the message it conveys.
Armed with this information, the first step is to have a competitive website that properly reflects the compelling reasons a client should put you on their short list for consideration. If your site or the presentation of your event bookings capability is second rate, it screams “this is a side business” and your results will be negatively impacted. Our clients tell us they search between 100 and 200 venues via the web prior to finalizing their list of sites to contact and potentially set up a tour.
In the next issue we will further dissect this process and review further ways a site might choose to spend their marketing dollars in their pursuit of events.
Event times are typically from 5 pm-10 pm, which allows for the tasting room to remain open and finish tasting experiences. Event festivities often start away from the tasting room or do not use the tasting room at all as part of the event.
Clients are spending an average of $350 per person for their wedding. Most events are in the evening, and clients are looking to spend quality time with their closest friends and family without embarrassing themselves due to rowdy antics. Responsible hospitality starts by properly setting expectations with the client, managing alcohol service at the bars, tables and with service staff, and being willing to curtail obvious precursors to behaviors that could get out of hand. Doing this right ensures your property can continue to handle events again and again.
There may be an assumption that guests might damage landscaping and break items on the property during an event. The key to mitigating these issues is to be certain the event is managed by someone who has a vested interest in the continuing successful operation of the site. With this motivation, running the event correctly from start to finish, eliminates the opportunity for rouge behavior.
Sound studies performed at each site establish the decibel levels that are permitted. The site coordinator is then able to monitor noise levels with a decibel reader and immediately correct any noise concerns. The use of a DJ also helps as appropriate speaker selection can be made and that the volume level can be more easily controlled.
By working with Milestone, we handle all the inquiries from prospective clients, conduct the site tours, meet with the clients for wine selection, schedule any on-site appointments, and perform the day-of-event logistics. The tasting room staff therefore is not impacted and the site is left ready for business the next day.
Schedule rental deliveries for set up and pick up before your tasting room opens.
Assure an events manager is there to receive vendors and able to direct event guests to the appropriate event areas.
Make these items (ex: tables and chairs) easily accessible for set up by either having a storage room near by or by placing the items out in the area for set up.
Having a specific vendor parking area will have less impact on tasting room guest parking and able to hide large catering trucks.
Pre-labeled for the event and available in a designated storage area for the event staff to have access to when they arrive
We all know a few properties that had their heyday some years ago. The photos still pop up and make you reminisce about the events done there. It may continue to be a beautiful space, large capacity, breathtaking views, great wines, but the number of events has dwindled. Is it because there are too many venues in the market? Have too many brides tied the knot there? Has the modern bride found a different style? What could it be?
Odds are, it’s probably that the old way of doing things is no longer working, nothing else. Event coordinator referrals have dried up, and the networking events have stopped working. We know it’s frustrating and challenging, but we also now know that the modern (millennial) bride, finds their venue online. If you aren’t correctly promoting your site with online marketing and the appropriate advertising dollars, your pipeline will dry up, if it hasn’t already. Your property that has a viable event permit is now sitting collecting dust every other weekend where there used to be activity and financial benefit.
Now more than ever, it is time to move your venue to the front lines of modern advertising and marketing. Yes, sites like Wedding Wire, the Knot and Here Comes the Guide are helpful, but without putting some weight into the web, you will continue to sub optimize. Investing time and money into digital marketing is the only way to revive your lead flow into the modern age. In our experience, surrounding yourself with experts in the field and spending significant time and dollars are worthwhile investments. We have helped revive properties that at their peak were doing 50+ events a year but had shrunk to less than 20 over the years. With the appropriate sales and marketing investment, we were able to bring these once powerhouse venues back to their original production numbers within a year of joining our network.
Granted, properties that had their prime some years ago may need a few touch-ups. However, once the sales numbers are there, the decision to upgrade the bridal suite or restrooms is a more manageable investment decision. By focusing your energies on modern marketing and investing the necessary dollars, selling that old powerhouse has never been easier.
Over the past 5 years, Milestone has helped wineries maximize income and reduce event related stress while generating hundreds of five star reviews.
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site tour host
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!