Hire Space co-founder and COO Ed Poland discusses the advantages to be gained by using big data to drive down venue-finding costs
Hire Space is a business which started as a portal for schools and community spaces to generate revenue and has now grown to have over 4,000 venues listed and over 100k people using the service a month.
We’ve always had one core philosophy: to make it simple for people to find great venues. In an industry where personal recommendations count for a lot, we asked ourselves a question early on: how can we scale the power of customer insight?
Like most tech companies, we’re a data-driven business. Data informs our marketing, our internal processes and our business strategy. Data also tells us a huge amount about venues; enquiry volume, who responds quickest, which ones get great feedback, which ones offer the market’s most competitive pricing.
A venue’s online profile also tells us how it’s perceived by venue-bookers. What’s the bounce rate for that profile? How long do people stop to read the information? Which pictures do they click on, or which features do they hover over? Which audience demographics are most engaged?
Ultimately, data tells us which venues the UK public loves.
The next step for us was ensuring venues would display their pricing, in order that venue-bookers could make quick decisions. This was tricky in an industry where transparency over pricing has never been prominent. Many were nervous, a few declined, but venues and suppliers, increasingly, are starting to display their pricing across the web and offline.
The savings for users are significant. A recent Eventbrite survey of event organisers found that 32% of time spent planning events was taken up by “finding and booking the venue and arranging catering” – up to 10 hours each time.
A modest saving in time spent has big implications on the company bottom line, allowing businesses and event organisers to focus resource elsewhere.
Harnessing marketing data allows venue recommendations online to be tailored to preferences. Browsing venues of over 500 capacity? The website will understand and show you the best options across multiple channels and devices. Need somewhere you can bring your own caterers? That’s what you’ll see.
For the first time, personal recommendation has been scaled into a live, thriving marketplace. Hire Space now has its own team of venue experts with fingertip access to the marketplace, offering a personalised concierge service to businesses across the UK. Because of the savings we make, we can offer the service for free. It’s all thanks to the power of data.