CN meets Andrew Needham, CEO and founder at a new style venue-finder Headbox, says transparency and dynamic pricing are key to a new search paradigm.
How does HeadBox differ from other venue finders and what ‘pain point’ can it resolve?
Our vision is to reinvent the events industry through technology. This starts by changing the way people search, book and pay for space by bringing the whole process online.
When we Beta launched in October 2015, we were the first to market with our technology, allowing corporate guests to book and pay for a space online.
This began to solve many of the initial problems guests face with ‘traditional’ venue listing sites that are not transactional and which act as an intermediary between the guest and the host.
There are multiple pain points within our industry that we have overcome through our technology such as the lack of transparency on costs, the lack of choice, inefficient booking processes and lack of control over your brief.
Our aim is to make paying for a venue as quick and easy as booking a hotel room or a flight.
Are there other sectors the events industry can learn from?
The travel industry is an excellent example of one that has embraced technology over the last 15 years including online payment and price comparison technology, dynamic pricing structures, real time availability and most notably embracing the sharing economy.
What do you feel the industry needs to do better?
Transparency is a huge issue. This is a sector that relies heavily on historic deals and prices are often quoted depending on the client. It’s hard to carry out accurate comparisons of venues with this lack of information and this doesn’t benefit the booker at all; they have no clarity around commission rates and can often end up paying far more for a venue than they should.
Also, no-one has access to quality data about booking trends or occupancy because there is nowhere that it can be calculated all in one place.
What has been the most difficult situation you have dealt with?
There is a lack of smart technology in the meetings industry to solve multiple problems of inefficiency and manual, outdated and time consuming processes. Some of these problems are complicated, so finding simple and easy solutions from a UX point of view can be challenging. But there is a huge opportunity to bring the industry up to speed with the millennial customer.
We recently launched Dynamic Pricing, which allows a host to select from five price types; venue hire by hour; venue hire by day; minimum spend and DDR.
Hosts are able to apply these five price types to different slots of the day for different days. This means that a host can display up to 150 pricing combinations per listing.