A potential guest is looking for the perfect event venue. You made a good impression with your hotel’s website and testimonials. But so did your competition. How can you be sure yours will stand out?
Your prospect is excited about all these great options, but now the most dreaded part of event planning begins: requesting and comparing proposals.
Let's look at a few straightforward ways to make your offer get the attention it deserves.
Honoring the customer journey
You probably know the five phases of the customer journey that are commonly accepted for leisure travel: dreaming, planning, booking, experiencing and sharing.
If you think about it, it’s quite similar in the events and groups domain.
First, clients have an idea for an event. Then they research, plan and sign the contract for it. The function takes place, and, if your clients were happy, they share it internally and/or with the media and other stakeholders.
Just like with leisure travel, the planning and booking phase for events and groups can be stressful, especially since your prospect probably has a client or boss to impress.
While they need to do their own research on event locations, you can help reduce their workload down the line. How? By using a streamlined, interactive proposal process that slashes the time they spend comparing and negotiating offers.
Apart from saving valuable time, this also gives you the chance to let the experience phase begin early.
When you make your proposal engaging rather than cumbersome and boring, even the planning and booking phase can become fun and quick.
Importance of the first point of cont(r)act
Everyone has heard the saying “first impressions count.” It’s an old adage but still very true, especially in an experience-focused industry like hospitality and events.
Keep that in mind as you imagine this: you’ve made a good enough impression on potential clients to make them reach out. Your sales team did good work at creating a positive customer experience. They promoted your unique facilities and services, offered support, and always replied on time.
As a result, your prospect asked for a proposal. Now it’s important to keep the client’s interest and engagement high. It’s time to live up to the promise of creating an exceptional experience with a proposal and contract people actually enjoy reading.
This will allow you to keep up the great impression and the excitement for the event itself. A beautiful, engaging proposal also sets a good precedent for future interactions. It shows that you put thought and effort into your work and treat every client’s RFP with care and diligence.
A look at conversion rates
“Don’t judge a book by its cover.” That’s another saying you hear a lot. But honestly, people don’t always follow this advice (do you?).
You may be wondering: What does that have to do with an event contract or proposal?
Even here appearances count, especially when you want to sell an experience and are competing in a crowded market.
Reasons for low conversion rates
Some of the most common causes for low conversion rates reflect this. If your proposal is too long, complex and unclear, it’s likely to land at the bottom of the pile. Your prospect will review the simpler ones first and may not even get to your offer because they already picked one of the other proposals.
Another way to drive your prospect away is to send generic proposals that aren’t tailored to your potential client’s needs and requirements. Always do your best to include everything they want. You can remove it later if they ask you to.
Finally, sending your proposal late is another no-go. Your client has a deadline and if you don’t help them achieve it, they won’t want to work with you.
Boosting conversion rates
The good news is that you can boost your proposals’ conversion rates by following some simple advice.
- Create a visually appealing layout: Make your proposal easy to scan with clear subheadings and separate sections for each element of the event.
- Leverage the power of photos and videos: Include images or videos to sell the meeting experience and your USP more effectively. A Google survey shows 72% of business travelers buy after seeing a video, proving how effective this can be.
- Keep the text brief and to the point: Use short paragraphs and add bullet points when you want to list your venue’s features, amenities and services.
- Make it editable: Event plans change constantly, so make it easy for your client to adjust the proposal themselves. That way you avoid doing countless revisions and email exchanges.
- Add customization options: Include optional extras your clients might like, to allow them to further personalize their event.
Reduce time and effort spent
We already mentioned how important it is to send your proposal on time and make it quick and easy to scan.
But how about scoring bonus points with clients by saving them (and yourself) even more time at this crucial stage? Of course, it’s a given that you also want to make your proposal stunning, so it’ll catch your prospects’ attention and wow them.
Doing both can be extremely hard and time-consuming when you’re working with an Excel or Word file. And the work isn’t done once you submit it. That’s when you spend hours editing every time the client has a new idea or changes the number of attendees.
Instead, why not use an interactive proposal? You can customize the first version and your client can make adjustments, as necessary. Once you’re both happy with it, a simple e-signature will seal the deal and you’re good to go.
Just think of all the time and energy this could save both your team and your prospects…