On February 26th, Tripleseat held the first ever Boston Restaurant Event Planner Breakfast to exchange ideas and get the inside scoop on what professional Meeting and Event Planners look for when booking events. Over 30 of the best Boston Event Managers attended to listen and ask questions of Donna Wolfe, from Donna Wolfe Consulting, Stephan Magro and Marty Ray, from Harvard University, about what makes venues stand out against the competition and how they go about selecting them.
Some highlights and insights from the event are:
- Meeting Planners do not use the web that often to find new locations to hold events. They ask people from within their own network on where the best places are. The takeaway is that word of mouth is still the strongest method of finding new business.
- Typically the first person to respond to their inquiry gets the business. First on in…wins. The takeaway is once you receive a lead you must respond quickly. Very quickly.
- DO NOT SELL the venue until you understand the needs of the prospect. All the Meeting Planners agreed that a venue sales manager selling the space without asking questions about their needs was a big turn off and they would not book the space because of it.
- Room Rental is dead. They won’t pay it. The takeaway is use Food and Beverage Minimum’s instead.
- Lengthy Contracts that benefit only the venue are likely to not be signed. In addition, Contracts that are over 2 pages long are a nuisance and do not start the relationship off on the right foot. So, keep Contract’s short and fair.
- Before making a final decision all Meeting Planners view the venue website. If there are old pictures or no pictures at all of the space that is a big red flag. In short, to keep your venue’s website up to date with pictures of the event space. If you can, include floor plans with the pictures as that is a big plus.
Thank you to Post 390 for hosting this event, it was the perfect backdrop for this lively discussion.