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Food for Thought

New ideas and advice to help you improve the operation, turnover, and connectivity of your dining sites.

5 tips to get more party bookings at your venue

David Charlton

November 9 2018,
David Charlton

How to get the party started (and how to get more of them)

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Whether it’s office drinks or children’s birthdays, parties and event bookings can be a lucrative source of revenue for hospitality businesses. No doubt you've already started receiving Christmas bookings, but of course parties are the gifts that keep giving all year round: they fill venues and they’re a very effective way to meet new customers and drive new business too.

Here are five key ways to make your venue the go-to place for parties.

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1. Be part of it

Parties and events are a huge part of the hospitality industry. Not only that, we’ve all been guests at parties and events, so you and your team collectively already have the knowledge to make any party go with a bang!

So why not monetise that knowledge by upselling party packages? You could parcel up services for all manner of events, from office parties to golden anniversary celebrations. 

It’s a win/win: your guests get the benefit of your team’s wisdom, and you get to upsell extras such as drinks packages, birthday cakes, and other related and relevant items that not only boost revenue but enhance the overall experience.

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2. Be there

It sounds obvious, but you can’t be involved if you aren’t available. Imagine you’d booked a party, but your follow-up emails were unanswered, your phone messages went unreturned, and you were greeted with blank stares when you popped in to check some details.

Such behaviour might not be deliberate, but you’d quickly lose confidence in the venue. And whether by accident or omission the results are the same: a poor customer experience and sometimes, the customer finding a more accommodating venue.

Technology can help with that. A dedicated events management portal offered by solutions such as liveRES Events & Pre-Order makes it easy for customers to fine-tune their bookings, notify you of any requests and so on – and it can share that data with everyone who needs access to it. There’s no risk of a message not being passed on to the right person, or of special dietary requirements or serious allergies not being notified to the kitchen.

You get your own portal with liveRES Events & Pre-Order too. It’s a secure place for you to manage all the details of your bookings, correspond with guests, and send any requests for payments.

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3. Feel the fear and book it anyway

Many venues are apprehensive when it comes to accepting really big group bookings: no-shows are bad enough when they mean an empty table for two, but when it’s a table for twenty-two it’s a financial disaster. But equally, refusing to take a big booking is handing your rivals what’s likely to be a nice bit of income.

The solution? Accept the booking, but make it easy to accept deposits and payments in advance. For example, liveRES Events & Pre-Order gives your guests a secure platform to pay their deposit, with any additional payments automatically requested on pre-selected dates.

The trick is to get the size of the deposit just right: not so big that it frightens off the bookers but not so little that they won’t miss it if they don’t show up. You might find that it’s best to vary the deposit to reflect the risk: a no-show on a quiet Tuesday is damaging, but less damaging than on a busy Saturday night.

liveRES Events & Pre-Order also allows you to effortlessly communicate with your customers through a dedicated portal, so you can quickly build a relationship and greatly reduce the likelihood of them letting you down!

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4. Take out the pain points

Time spent waiting to order meals or to get the bill is no fun. When there’s a big group, it can take a while to walk around taking everyone’s orders. Likewise, when guests are tired and ready to go home, the last thing they want to do is hang around waiting to settle their tab.

Why not remove the pain completely by encouraging your guests to order and pay in advance? Not only does it help improve the guests’ enjoyment on the night, but it helps with your stock ordering and kitchen planning as well.

You can ensure you have all the ingredients you need to fulfil all orders without risking any wastage from over ordering, and there’s less likelihood of a shortage of any key ingredients.

Manually managing all this would be painstakingly monotonous and time consuming. But why would you do it yourself when liveRES Events & Pre-Order can do it for you? It’s operational efficiency at its finest.

liveRES Events & Pre-Order gives you the technology you need to remove other pain points too – for both your customers and your staff. For example, the innovative solution can also accept staged payments, enabling your guests to spread the costs over time and avoid any bill shock at the event.

Simply put, liveRES Events & Pre-Order makes it easier for your guests, and easier for your venue.

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5. Do what you do best

Many of the guests may be new to your venue, so this is an excellent opportunity to wow them and turn them into loyal customers.

A recent GO Technology research report from Zonal and CGA analysed customer feedback and found that happy customers like to share their joy with others: on average, a happy customer tells nine other people about their experience.

As for the unhappy ones, just one in 27 would complain on the night. That’s because they’d much rather go home and post a bad review on TripAdvisor.

By delivering the exceptional customer service you excel at, facilitated by smart events booking and pre-order technology, you’re creating lots of new customers for your venue. Now that’s something worth celebrating.

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