Why UK venues need and deserve more flexible technology
A new survey by Londonlaunch and NFS Technology Group is aiming to discover how event venues are using technology. NFS CEO Luis De Souza presented the survey to a selection of VIP guests at a briefing in November, pictures of which can be seen above.
In this guest blog, De Souza takes a look at some of the survey's results, and why venues need to make use of more flexible event technology.
Are our UK venues missing a trick when it comes to digital transformation? A new survey of UK venues has proved surprisingly revealing.
The survey – by Londonlaunch and sponsored by NFS and revealed this week – was aimed at discovering how venues are currently using technology.
It gives software experts like ourselves a deeper insight into what the industry really needs, because many venues say their current system and tools for venue management are just not fulfilling their needs.
In today’s challenging trading climate, this is a concern. This is a booming and profitable industry – but to stay that way, it needs and deserves more flexible and responsive technology.
British consumers are becoming increasingly digital-savvy, and expect to access every area of their lives via their mobile.
Hotels cottoned onto this some time ago, and online booking is now the norm, offering potential customers 24/7 convenience.
Hotels often use a single property management system to control their entire operations, and in fact, the UK hotels contacted by the survey were all perfectly happy with their management technology.
We would never suggest that the meeting venues industry – a complex, multi-partner business with specific customer needs – is the same as the hotel business, of course.
But there may be tips that venues (and the technology suppliers who aim to help them) can take away. There are common requirements for controlling operational workflow, and software can fulfil them.
Venues, by their own admission, are using a mish-mash of technologies to run their operations.
They told the survey that they need technology that is flexible enough to respond to a hugely varied industry that works in many different ways, with internal teams and third parties.
Technology that deals sensitively with the needs of different customers, both internal and external.
Technology that ties together scheduling capability with invoicing, sales reporting and sales pipeline management , and helps them manage their limited inventory items better.
Many meeting venues are already stitching together their own patchwork of systems and methods to provide what their operations need on a daily basis.
But we’d argue that technology working in silos is no way to create real efficiency.
Hotels have shown that more integrated operational management systems can create a holistic environment where admin is saved, efficiency is improved and staff are able to spend more of their valuable time dealing with customers.
Venues need a far greater degree of flexibility than hotels, because they operate in a far different way – and the venue management systems of the future need to respond to those specific needs.
When we decided to sponsor this survey, we were keen to gain deeper insights into the requirements of this important sector so we can develop our own venue management systems to better meet them.
In many ways, the UK meeting venue market is bucking the trend and doing extraordinarily well despite the trading turmoil much of the rest of the country is experiencing.
Imagine how much more this vibrant sector can do with the help of truly flexible and supportive technology.
With the enhanced understanding we’ve gained from the survey, we’re now working with UK venues to develop further the technology they need and deserve.
It’s a privilege to be doing so – it’s time to overturn the industry’s current dissatisfaction with technology and give venues the management systems that will help them to thrive.