There’s no time like the present for measuring the results of a Venue View virtual tour, and in the cases of Prestwold Hall and Hodsock Priory in stunning Loughborough and Blyth, Nottinghamshire respectively, there’s no denying the ROI.
To be able to secure nearly 70 wedding bookings from behind closed doors in the midst of the Covid-19 pandemic’s latest lockdown is quite extraordinary.
We caught up with Stacey Ferguson at The Venue Experts to find out just how she did it… Here’s what she had to say:
How long have you worked in venue sales?
I have worked in weddings and events for the past 15 years and probably covered every role within the industry possible! In the early days, many venues encouraged their event managers to be ‘all rounders’ – looking after all parts of the venue including sales and operations. I personally believe that separating these roles increases not only the performance and well being of the team member but also the businesses bottom line. I have really focused on developing venues and venue sales for the past 6 years.
How have you used the virtual tours of Prestwold Hall and Hodsock Priory since they were created?
No matter how amazing your venue is, how brilliant your email communication or how active you are on social media – a venue’s best chance to convert an enquiry into a booking is at a tour. Since the lockdown stopped this from happening in a physical sense, we had to adapt. And fast. Wedding engagement season was approaching (from Christmas day and through January) and we could not miss out on forward business. The Venue View virtual tour has enabled us to continue our tours virtually and show the venues in an array of different set ups that can be matched to the requirement of the client.
Have virtual tours changed how you market the venues? And if so, how?
Since using and marketing that the venues have a virtual tour, we have been able to tap into markets further afield and even international couples who, without seeing the virtual tour, would not have the confidence to book. Just last week I was talking to a couple in China who were so excited that not only could they access the tour from so far away, but that they could use the measuring tools to help them plan their wedding too. It filled them with such confidence and excitement that they paid their deposit with 30 minutes of doing the tour! We definitely make a big noise about the venues having the virtual tours – including highlights on our Instagram, links on our email signatures and they are mentioned in all our communication emails.
What sort of ROI have you achieved through the use of your Venue View virtual tour?
The ROI in respect of these two tours is a staggering 34000%.
Yes! You did read that right. It’s an incredible result.
What’s your top sales tip for making the most of a virtual tour?
There are so many! I’ll give you three…
1) Make good use of the touch points throughout the tour. I use them to sell particularly tricky areas and dates such as off peak winter. One venue has an unusual space that is used for the ceremony and evening party and has been a hard sell in the past, but once I click on the pre-loaded button and share the room dressed for the evening, the couple completely buy into it. I also have the most beautiful winter ceremony set up loaded onto another button and since sharing this virtually, winter wedding bookings have gone through the roof.
2) Use the floor plan. Your couple are likely to be overwhelmed by how amazing your venue is and all the rooms you explore together. I always finish the virtual tour by showing the floor plan and linking all the rooms that we spoke about together. This helps the couple walk through the day and see how all the spaces work together.
3) In the world of weddings, we know that the couple not only buy into our beautiful venues but the person looking after it all. Most couples are excited and nervous and don’t know what to ask and have never planned a huge event, so they want to be hand held and know they will be looked after throughout the planning and on the big day. By doing the virtual tour with your couple, you can draw on all your experience and past events and use this to show the couple how to make the most out of all the spaces.
Wow! What a success story!
We love receiving feedback from our clients and discovering just how they use their virtual tours, so huge thanks to Stacey for taking the time to answer our questions.
With the hospitality industry on it’s knees and many venues left uncertain as to whether they have a business or not when this is all over, this story is absolute testament to the power of virtual tours as a sales and marketing tool.
Check out the tours of Prestwold Hall and Hodsock Priory.