By Josh Fitzsimons, marketing manager at Warwick Conferences
The venue and events market is constantly changing. Our industry is turning towards technology to innovate and establish a smooth guest experience.
In order to remain relevant and visible in such a competitive market it is important that we understand the modern customer and what grabs their attention. At Warwick Conferences, we strive to keep our finger on the pulse regarding changing consumer behaviours and a major part of this has been adapting our marketing techniques to coincide with evolving attitudes towards digital technology.
Creating a digital culture surrounding the venue experience is key to maximising reach and peaking interest among potential clients. By embedding a digital strategy at all stages of your hospitality experience, guests will be able to fully engage with your offering even before they have set foot in the space on the day of the event.
This is why we have developed a new approach to marketing our latest event space, The Slate. This tailored and unique conference centre offers a completely blank canvas and fluid space with impressive lakeside views and we wanted to be able to effectively communicate the essence of the space to UK-wide and international audiences without them having to travel directly to Warwick.
This aim exists at the heart of why the fly-through video of The Slate was produced, by making use of this content we are able to show off the space and give viewers an idea of its huge potential for their own event. Unique video content will get your brand seen and shared and creates better advertising experiences for consumers. We are finding that there are a number of clients who are turning to technology to view their chosen conference venue rather than opting for full traditional show rounds, most frequently due to time constraints, and when organising short-lead time events.
Although face-to-face marketing remains important and we will continue to attend a variety of industry tradeshows and forums throughout the year, we have found that digital techniques can complement and co-exist with traditional methods seamlessly. The Slate fly-through video, for example, meets consumer demand for digital and also serves as a fantastic tool for organisers who have minimal time to spare. By creating a visual simulation of a space the user is able to familiarise themselves with the venue and how it could fit with the objectives of their event. Virtual simulations like our fly-through video are much more useful to an event professional than a selection of images when it comes to giving them a feel for the space and what can be achieved.
We will certainly continue to develop a digital journey which will ultimately allow our customers to engage with our brand and venue offering. So many other sectors are already making great use of digital channels to maximise their exposure and the venues arena is slowly opening up to these methods. A personal, online approach to communicating with a wider audience will open up opportunities for both Warwick Conferences and its nationwide customers.
Mark Cooper, CEO of IACC (an association representing the top 1% of meetings focus venues in the world”) comments: “We used to say it was essential to visit the venue to gain a complete understanding of the size, scale and the footprint of a venue inside and outside of the immediate meeting room. With the advancement of technology especially any areas of 360° imaging and advances in virtual reality and augmented reality, it is now possible to understand these venue characteristics before setting foot on property. The fly around the video that has been created for The Slate is a great example of this, giving a clear view of the flexibility and different configurations of this space for different event needs”.
Fay Sharpe, VP of BCD Meetings & Events agrees: “with more choice and clients choosing overseas destinations just as much as they do the UK we need to be able to see what we are potentially buying on their behalf. The days of the printed brochure library are long gone – instead we immediately turn to online to see what a venue looks like and what it is capable of. Personal recommendation or personal experience remains the biggest factor though. By digitising and bringing to life their new space Warwick Conferences is responding to today’s buyers who perhaps may not have the time or resource for a show-round. The film gives a great fly-through and encapsulates what the venue has for event and meeting buyers”.