Issue #8 | May 2020
Innovations in Event Management
Newsletter from Milestone Events group
By The Numbers
By the numbers
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What does the future hold
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 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:
- are now more cautious – how can we make them feel safer about their decision
- are more willing to make decisions remotely and not spend as much time on location
- have additional spare time and are more willing to allocate time talking on the phone to gain information
- are worried about cost and are seeking a lower priced experience
- have less time due to problems in their world and want solutions that come together more easily
- want to plan for smaller guest counts but have the flexibility if larger ones are possible
- want to keep their guest counts as originally envisioned, but be able to reduce them without undue financial and logistical strain
- want to focus their reception differently than before
- are interested in providing a different guest experience that is not compromised by clumsy workarounds
- are able to include people who now, for one reason or another, might no longer be invited nor able to attend
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.
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Top 5 ways to help clients during these times
#1- PUt more people on the phones
Most people have more time to talk right now. Make your employees your voice and encourage clients and prospects to call.
#2- SHARE YOUR FEELINGS OF CONCERN
But do not let that be the focus of the conversation – solutions ultimately feel better than sympathy.
#3 Explain how this effects you
But do not make it about you, or make it look like you are mortally wounded.
#4 Collaborate more with other suppliers
Clients have it tough, needing to make multiple connections to unwind or move an event – create a way they can do it more efficiently.
#5- Follow up quickly
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.
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How to keep your message clear to your clients
- Acknowledge on your website’s homepage things are not business-as-usual.
- If you have revised procedures, clearly outline them so clients are not confused or frustrated.
- Make sure that any unattended email or voice mail boxes are frequently checked and responded to.
- Read outside your primary news sources – it’s your job to be as informed as possible, the truth is most often somewhere in the middle and all of your clients do not necessarily read what you read, nor think what you think. Understanding all perspectives will help you to better serve the client.
- Communicate with your vendor network. What do they think? What do they hear?
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Holding strong and booking now
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.
milestone helps sites maximize event capacity for greater event-related revenue
Over the past 6 years, Milestone has helped wineries maximize income and reduce event related stress while generating hundreds of five star reviews.
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