Increasing Conferencing Revenue
Most conference operations are looking for ways to increase their revenue. Offering new services, or raising rates tend to be the most common means of growing the bottom line. However, there is one activity everyone should be doing that can positively affect revenue streams: inquiry tracking. There are a surprising number of conference operations who do not track incoming inquiries or sales leads.
Sometimes it is due to the amount of work involved in tracking the information, but often it is because there is no perceived value in tracking these leads. The lead is often reviewed for viability, space availability is checked and if they are not booked, they are simply turned away with little or no record of their request.
Even worse, some inquiries are left completely unanswered. According to the Harvard Business Review, 23% of leads are never responded to by businesses. Put very simply, this is turning revenue away!
Recover Lost Opportunities
Unless you are very fortunate to have never had a customer cancel an event, tracking inquiries can help you recover revenue from lost business. Consider this scenario: you turned down an inquiry due to lack of space availability for the dates requested, a result of an existing booking for Event A. The business was otherwise viable (it met the mission of your department or requirements of the University), the only issue was lack of space. Months after Event A booked, they cancel their event. You now have spaces and resources that are no longer being used on those dates, losing revenue in the process.
Effectively Track Opportunities
When you effectively track inquiries, you can easily reference the details of the inquiry. Using the above scenario, you would be able to identify the turn down(s) that exist for the dates and spaces left vacant by the cancellation. Contact these turn downs to determine if they are still seeking a location and try to convert their business. If you cannot identify who previously requested a set of dates and times, the effort required to refill lost business can be more challenging than necessary.
To best prepare for auctioning lost opportunities, you should be collecting, at a minimum, customer contact information, all dates of interest, meeting space requirements, bedroom space requirements, dining requirements and estimated value of the event. Having this information at your disposal will not only allow you to identify which turn down you can try to convert, but in cases where you turned down more than one piece of business, which one will yield the greatest revenue.