by Rachael Bartlett, Warwick Conferences
Many grievances come down to poor communication, with conversations often too focused on superficial features. An independently commissioned report by Warwick Conferences, Value of Satisfaction, indicates an industry preoccupation with cutting-edge facilities may be clouding what it is that really generates value in a venue.
The report found that good service is inextricably linked with higher levels of satisfaction. The leading factor is knowledgeable on-site staff (62%), followed by the effectiveness of the meeting (58%) – both factors that relate to the service provided, as opposed to luxurious facilities.
A venue’s approach and service can be categorised as ‘intangibles’, but with disappointment in event experiences common, and the associated disruption getting in the way of meeting goals, the impact of poor service is very real.
Interestingly, 79% of those reporting dissatisfaction had been to venues shared by non-business guests, compared to 17% going to a dedicated venue.
Power to the people
The research indicates a venue’s staff carry the most clout when it comes to generating delegate satisfaction. It seems the power of people can make all the difference and turn a good delegate experience into a great one, with 69% of delegates claiming that staff going the extra mile makes a venue stand out.
With great power comes great responsibility, and the research also shows that 43% of delegates have been let down by poor service and staff at an event.
Bad experiences lead to ineffective meetings; ineffective meetings waste time and wasted time is wasted money.
According to the report, reputation is currently a top three criteriom for just 56% of bookers, with cost – unsurprisingly – coming up trumps for 9/10 of those asked. But, selecting a venue based on cost over service risks a substandard experience for delegates and managers.
It’s a crowded marketplace so industry accreditations such as AIM can serve to simplify the selection process, by helping identify venues recognised for consistently providing and investing in quality service.
Another tip is to get to know the prospective venue and its staff. It is essential clients ask the right questions at the start of the process and throughout to ensure they’re on the same page.
Service and ethos are the backbone of a good venue and the mark of a quality experience. By all means, check the nuts and bolts of facilities are in place and up to scratch, but neglect to dive down into the detail of customer service and you could risk missing the point and your event sliding off course.
For venues, make sure you fully understand what the event is to achieve, and how it will be measured. You must set these out before tailoring an offering to suit.