If you’ve been unsuccessful with getting corporate and association meeting planners to give your venue a chance – it’s time to look at what you might be doing wrong.
1. You have beautiful photos – but only of weddings.
Enough with the satin tie-back chairs! Business groups will have little interest in the elaborate place settings social event planners tend to be so proud of. It’s important to show the versatility of your space, so that corporate planners will be able to easily visualize their groups activity in your venue. The exception to this rule: if your venue has personality (cultural, arts, or industrial chic), show it off in your staging. See #4.
2. Your photos are all blurry, grainy, or just bad.
Cell phone photos can be awesome. But they must be intentional and shot with a quality device (read: pricier smartphones). Indeed, it’s possible to take exceptional photos with the phone in your pocket. However, snapshots are not the quality of photos that you need to sell your space. If your budget doesn’t have room for a professional photo shoot just yet, here are a few tips.
– Shoot in landscape mode. Always. You’ll get more of the space in your shot, and you’ll find that the images will scale better on your website.
– Crop. Don’t zoom. Your cell phone camera wasn’t designed for gorgeous super-close shots. While there are attachments you can purchase to enhance your cell phone lens features, the best option is to take the best photos you can with the equipment you already have.
– Get low(er). Take photos from about waist height to improve perspective in your shots. Photos at standing height will be top heavy, showing mostly ceiling. Kneel if you have to.
– Light it up. The best possible option is daylight, but if you don’t have much of it, get as much light as you can into the space. Dark photos will make your space appear dismal and dreary. No one wants to spend the day working in a dark, depressing space. If your venue struggles with natural lighting, consider investing in a few commercial daylight lamps. You can find several attractive and affordable options via Google.
3. You’re in the middle of nowhere and have no amenities.
What are they going to eat and drink? If you’re best suited for a team offsite or retreat – say so. Business groups are usually looking for multiple services when they book a meeting space. If you happen to be in an industrial park, it’s likely that food and drink – and everything else – is quite a distance from your venue. If you have a caterer in your pocket, or know of local businesses that deliver to your location, make that known in your materials. Better yet, consult with those businesses so that you can create meeting packages that include them. The more you can offer your venue as a full-service establishment, the better your business sales will be.
4. All your pics are of vastly empty spaces.
Staging, staging, staging. Pay attention to meeting and venue design trends, while being true to your venue’s style and market. Stage your space for business events, tech conferences, networking events – whatever events you’re trying to attract. Also, make sure you get some people in those shots. Call your friends over for a photo shoot “party.” Want to kick your marketing up a notch? Invite key partners and/or groups you’d like as clients to an event that goes beyond the same old open house. Host a workshop, speaker, or networking event for your target groups. No matter which option you choose, this is the time for a professional photographer. Choose a pro that specializes in photojournalism, rather than portraits. You want images that tell a story, not just record details. (Want help making this happen? We can help!)
5. Not enough details.
Business groups need specific things. Tell them you have them. Your bridal and party clients may not need to know whether you have microphones or a PA system, a projector and screen, or the bandwidth of your internet connection. Your business clients absolutely do. Training sessions, presentations, and yes, social media sharing are all common at business-focused events. Bonus: make sure you have your social media person on-site during client events so you can quickly respond to mentions and take advantage of the added visibility!
As you can see, a lot of what I’ve described here has to with the images of your space and how you present your venue to your desired market. If you’ve focused exclusively on social events until now, you’ll have some work to do to attract the business clientele that you will be serving during the week. Get to know your neighbors – especially if you’re in a business park. Build relationships with reliable vendors. Understand what businesses are looking for in an event space. These considerations will help you access the clientele you’re trying to reach.