By Richard John
The American author Clifford Stoll wrote; “Data is not information, information is not knowledge, knowledge is not understanding, understanding is not wisdom.” I was reminded of that when speaking at a Unique Venues of London (UVL) meeting, in which the key findings of some bespoke member research was shared. Of course, this year’s results were especially interesting in the context of the Brexit result, so it’s cheering to note that 80% of London venues are optimistic about the year ahead, with three-quarters predicting revenue increases. Much of that could be due to the slump in sterling, making UK meetings better value, but let’s keep the optimistic thread going.
Also good news is that 33% of venues are planning to increase headcount (start signing up apprentices, guys); and it’s the conference element that grew fastest, followed by private parties and dining events. It’s all very warming news, considering that one in four of the membership added a new event space in 2016.
Now, there was a wealth of other detailed feedback that was presented. Some in the audience played on the phones, others nodded wisely. Only a couple scribbled frantically, and could clearly be seen absorbing some encouraging statistics. Ironically, my presentation had been about ‘effective marketing’; for those who were prepared to embrace the research, there was a fantastic opportunity to use it to build business. The issue was how many members would be prepared to slice, dice, analyse and interrogate the data, rather than just stare at it.
Lisa Hatswell of UVL said: “This highlights the heart of what Unique Venues of London is, a system of support and collaboration that is designed to benefit the members as much as their clientele.” She’s right; but that takes effort, and a willingness to grasp the wise words of Stoll. And John, of course.