Events are making a comeback! As you may have noticed in your personal life, larger weddings are returning, conferences are, and festivals moving forward. This means that you have an opportunity to increase the revenue and the number of bookings from a local event! To help you maximize revenue from events, here are some tips on how to attract more event travelers this year.
If you wait until a few weeks before the event to plan your marketing strategy, you’ve missed the window to attract event travelers. This is because most event travelers book tickets, accommodation, and activities weeks or months in advance. For this reason, it is important to know the booking cycle for events in your area. A wedding, for example, is getting booked 10-12 months in advance and room blocks are booked typically 3-4 months ahead of time. On the other hand, business travel typically gets booked 1-2 months out, so if you have a conference coming to your area it’s important to start marketing well before that timeframe so that you have time for it to gain traction.
Engage and Entertain
People want to know that when they stay with you, their experiences will meet their expectations. To accomplish this, you should highlight the experience that makes your venue unique. For example, maybe you have an amazing bridal suite that’s set up perfectly for everyone to get ready in, or maybe you can partner with a local SUP or kayak tour that takes your guests to see wildlife. Whatever amenities you have that make you unique need to be featured throughout your marketing, including in your email marketing, social media, and of course on your website. If you are taking advantage of all of these avenues you will absolutely attract more event travelers this year.
Showcase Your Service
Venues are so important to any event, of course, because it is where the event takes place and often becomes the event, so it’s important to showcase how you will make the event special. This could mean creating a case study around previous a conference or creating a video of a wedding you hosted. The goal is to ensure that potential guests and event planners understand your venue’s and the surrounding area’s value proposition.
This is also a great opportunity for you to showcase your secondary revenue streams. For example, if you’re hosting a wedding, you can create offers around your spa for the bridal party. You can do this by having touchpoints throughout the guest’s journey with compelling offers and upgrades for their stay. Q4Launch has a tool called the Guest Lifecycle Automation that uses these additional touchpoints to increase stay averages.
Creating Compelling Offers
Before we start on this point, creating a compelling offer does not necessarily mean lowering your rates. However, it is important to understand what your competitors are doing. If there’s a large festival coming to town you have to know your competitors’ marketing strategy in advance including their rates and their value proposition. That being said, you don’t want to copy your competitors: know what they’re doing and put your creative spin on it.
As we mentioned at the beginning of this section; a compelling offer does not need to mean lower rates. Depending on your availability and market you could offer group rates or special packages for those who book multiple properties. The key is messaging the offers so they’re known and draw people in. Additionally, once you craft your offer you need to make sure it’s featured on your website and social media so that people can easily find your offer.
Having Multiple Touchpoints Along the Customer Journey
Now we are going to take a deeper dive into touchpoints along the customer journey. The first touchpoint you should work on is SEO content; SEO content takes 6-9 months to rank so thinking about events that far in the future is crucial. If you write a blog weeks before the event, it’s not going to rank for the right keywords in time to attract event travelers.
Additionally, think about your email marketing strategy; this is a great opportunity to re-engage previous guests and encourage them to rebook. Using email marketing also helps spread the word about an event that your audience has not heard of but they may book it and stay with you because you informed them of it! Social media is also a great touchpoint for guests in the dreaming and planning stage, so make sure that you have compelling images and CTAs throughout your social media channels.
We recently hosted a 20 Minute Takeaway that took a deeper dive into touchpoints throughout the customer journey that could help you attract more event travelers this year.
Request a Recording of our Webinar “How to Drive Last Minute Summer Bookings”
Paid Search to Attract More Event Travelers
Your paid search (or PPC) strategy should be extremely targeted; by selecting highly specific keywords guests will be more likely to convert. PPC is great for both weddings and public events but the strategy for one versus the other is very different. For example, you can start bidding on related keywords months in advance of the specific event timeframe for public events. On the other hand, for weddings, you could bid on the keywords in that campaign year-round. For more information on why paid search is so important to your marketing strategy, check out our blog 40 Reasons Why You Should Be Investing in Paid Search or if you would like to learn more about how to run a paid search campaign check out our blog Q4Launch Experience: PPC Made Easy.
The biggest takeaway from this should be that you have to plan when marketing to event travelers. Right now, in mid-June, it’s too late for a marketing campaign targeted at large summer weddings for this year. However, it’s a good time to start targeting newly engaged couples looking for a summer wedding or elopements, or micro-weddings. If you need help assessing your current marketing strategy or need some direction, don’t hesitate to request some of our free resources including a free Google Analytics Analysis or our Social Media Grader!