Rachael Bartlett, head of sales and marketing at Warwick Conferences
Standing out from the crowd is essential in a saturated market, but how do you make yourself stand out from the competition and continue to constantly meet the evolving needs of customers?
1. Listen to your customers
With so many conference and meeting venues on the market today, at Warwick Conferences we’ve found that something as simple as listening to our customers has helped us win business from our competitors and stay firmly on the map. By listening to client feedback, including holding group sessions to allow staff and managers talk to guests and gain first-hand feedback of their experiences, we have been able to understand their needs and put their comments into action. Regularly making use of working groups with clients to discuss what they would like to see going forward is also a great way to engage with them.
2. Deliver experiences
In a crowded marketplace customers are no longer just looking for a space for their events, but the delivery of an experience. We created the strapline: “Anything is possible”, a motto we use to help ensure we create an experience for our guests that will keep them wanting to come back. Events are about so much more than just the space they take place in, and every client objective is completely unique so we want to make sure they get the exact experience they are looking for. And without a doubt, a good experience will keep delegates talking about it for years to come.
For a client who was hosting a three-week event at Scarman, our team put together information about local services and provided space for various teambuilding and outdoor activities to keep delegates entertained. Our chefs designed 21 power meals for the duration of the event to ensure menus were varied, energizing and kept delegates motivated. The experience meant that the client chose to come back again for another event.
3. Push the boundaries
Don’t be afraid to do things differently. Push the boundaries and create something memorable for guests. Why take staff out of the office and put them in exactly the same environment? Create unique spaces that are different. No longer is it just about offering four walls and a table and chairs to meet around, it is about providing different types of flexible spaces that can inspire and enlighten people as well as encourage creativity. As part of a recent refurbishment we have introduced a kitchen unit within one of our meeting rooms, allowing for the informality of a ‘kitchen table’ discussion. Our Let’s do Lunch Rooms allow clients to stay within one room if they choose, so delegates can enjoy the finest and freshest local produce in a relaxed, informal environment that has been specifically designed to help break down boundaries and foster creativity.
We’ve also recently launched a catering van, to allow us to deliver the Warwick Conferences experience and our award-winning catering to even more people up and down the country. In recent weeks we have visited clients including ArrangeMY Group in Worcester and Capita in Swindon, and we’ve activated the van at key industry events such as Confex to raise awareness that it can also be hired as a unique option for catering at events.
From our experience, the key to remaining competitive in a saturated market is keeping abreast of industry trends, listening to your customers and acting on their feedback with new and innovative developments and investments that will catch the attention of clients and keep them coming back time and again.