Missing the big business opportunity of small meetings

By Natalie Wiseman

At BDRC’s last annual Hotel Insights Forum event, I presented data from our VenueVerdict Event Planner Feedback module about drivers of recommendation and repeat business.  I thought it was particularly interesting that there is a difference in the likelihood to recommend based on the size of meeting.

The United Kingdom & Ireland National Average from our Event Planner Feedback shows that those holding small events (under 50 delegates) are less likely to recommend a venue for a similar requirement, relative to larger events for 51+ delegates.

Why is this?

Several venues have adapted their treatment of event sizes.  And some large hotel groups have recently developed their booking technology to do so.  Essentially this treats small meetings more transactionally, driven by the view that this is how bookers of small events prefer to be dealt with.

I don’t necessarily disagree with this view for the enquiry and booking stage.  Booking a venue for 200 versus 20 people is likely to require much more detail.  But it seems this message is potentially being carried through to the actual event by those involved in planning and delivering it.

The aim is for a speedier enquiry and booking process, yet small event planners still expect just as much as a large event in terms of their treatment and event delivery. They want a smooth running event which delivers value for money just as much as the next person!

In theory, the small meetings bookers should be easier to satisfy as there are fewer delegates to worry about, and the event itself is likely to involve fewer complexities.  Yet perhaps small event planners are less forgiving when things go wrong. Planners of large-scale meetings understand operational challenges and will have covered the minute details. Regardless of total spend, both are still working to a budget and have definite expectations.

The business issue

It’s worth considering that the limited revenue for small events accounts for approximately a quarter of a venue’s overall business, a huge chunk overall.  These planners need to be impressed.  After all, you want them to bring their small meetings business back to you. And better still, they may be the large event planners of the future… your future.

Whilst everybody has to prioritise, and understandably high revenue is high up on the agenda, it’s worth bearing in mind how the ‘small’ meeting experience will affect the consideration of a venue/group for future events.

Plan your future

See how VenueVerdict’s Event Planner Feedback module can help you understand more about what your customers want from their events - feel free to ask me any questions: natalie.wiseman@bdrc.co.uk.